Celebrities used to be known to have private chefs and unattainable diets. But an old trend is now resurfacing. Celebrities are once again partnering with fast food chains to bring their flavor to the fare. However, the question arises: are the meals healthier for the brand or the celebrity?

When you think of celebrity diets, what comes to mind? Honestly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s terrible diet and health regime? Maybe it’s the Kardashians tucking into another salad big enough to feed a family. Or maybe it’s Kate Moss’ diet of coffee and cigarettes. What you don’t think about is fast food. I struggle to picture George Clooney tucking into a Big Mac or Jennifer Lopez indulging in a Whopper. However, if we turn to fast food chains, celebrities are becoming the chefs and faces of the industry.

It started in 1992.

McDonalds x Michael Jordan

He could shoot hoops, design shoes and apparently could resist spices. At the peak of Michael Jordan’s career, the basketball player was inundated with brand deals. McDonalds, of course, held the ranks. Jordan worked with McDonalds to create McJordan. It was only available in Chicago, where he played for the Chicago Bulls. And, it included a hot sauce.

The sauce remains hot nearly 20 years later, with a bottle listed on eBay in 2012. The bottle of the precious condiment would fetch $9,995.

Tim Hortons x Justin Bieber

Tim Hortons is not a locally known chain. The Canadian coffee and donut chain was one of the first to bump into a celebrity. The choice had to be the most successful Canadian musician (no, not Neil Young) Justin Bieber. It was a hole-in-one, as the pop sensation had already spoken about his love for the restaurant.

In November 2021, Tim Hortons launched Wood material, a riff on the popular Timbits (donut holes). It doesn’t sound like much, but it made all the difference. The company saw an increase of over 10 percent in sales from the previous quarter.

A hungry Biebs said it was a “dream come true,” as I’m sure the Tim Hortons team would agree.

McDonalds x Travis Scott

Travis Scott, the other half of the youngest (and wealthiest) Jenner, Kylie Jenner, caused a stir when he released his McDonald’s food. But instead of being a newly introduced menu item, it was a meal. One that Scott himself liked to dine on. A Quarter Pounder, fries, Sprite and barbeque sauce. That was it. Seems like nothing, right? Well, the meal caused a frenzy in America. The fast food chain was forced to back order more Quarter Pounders after the popular menu item flew off the shelves and into mouths.

KFC x Jack Harlow

The newest on the celebrity scene is American rapper Jack Harlow. And, as if KFC’s delicious taste needed anything else to entice diners, it signed Harlow to a branding deal. The partnership led to Harlow, a Kentucky native, releasing a limited-edition meal. This time it included KFC spicy chicken sandwich, mac and cheese, secret recipe fries, with a ranch and lemonade. It was served in Jack Harlow branded packaging to sweeten the spicy deal.

Harlow worked at a KFC drive-thru to promote the meal. It worked, as fans flocked to KFC and enjoyed the meal.

Do celebrity meals work?

Celebrity meals have become a part of fast food chain culture. From the weird to the more obvious in the case of K-pop group BTS increasing chicken sales by 250 percent when the BTS and McDonald’s collaboration hit stores, these meals will keep happening. And, for good reason too.

In America, celebrity-endorsed foods counted 15 percent of sales in the fast food industry. An extremely important number in a trillion dollar industry.

Locally, Australian celebrities aren’t as prevalent in our fast food choices. But maybe it’s time to Cats releasing a Vegemite Big Mac and having Delta Goodrem as the face?

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