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McDonald’s Franchisees Upset Over Cardi B, Offset Meal; Cite Profane Music as Reason

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

McDonald’s has prided themselves for value, quality, service and family friendly atmospheres for the duration of their existence. In fact, McDonald’s has made its reputation with the kids. The Play Place, birthday parties, Ronald McDonald, Happy Meals; the Golden Arches beckon the kiddos.

The company used to be family friendly. Unfortunately, the advertising has taken a turn in recent times. No longer do you see the Hamburgler, Ronald, Grimace, or the Fry Guys. Instead, now we get to see Cardi B and her partner Offset. If you aren’t aware, Cardi B is the “singer” of the classic kids tune WAP. Just kidding. WAP is one of the more vulgar songs in recent memory. I won’t pretend to know who Offset is, but franchisees aren’t happy about the direction the advertising is taking. Check this out.

McDonald’s franchisees are reportedly miffed about the fast-food giant’s meal partnership with rappers Cardi B and Offset – with some opting not to promote the campaign at all due to fears of negative publicity.

An unspecified number of restaurant owners have contacted McDonald’s corporate wing to express concern that the married stars – the latest to be featured in the company’s “Famous Orders” campaign – could hurt their “family-friendly image,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The irritated franchisees argue that “Migos” member Offset and Cardi B lead lifestyles and release music that are at odds with McDonald’s brand. Both artists have drawn scrutiny for the explicit content of their lyrics, such as Cardi B’s 2020 hit song “WAP.”

I wouldn’t suggest reading the lyrics to WAP if you don’t already know them. Suffice to say McDonald’s doesn’t provide the type of service that song is talking about. At least none I have ever been to.

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It’s understandable that franchisees want to protect the family friendly image. Not every McDonald’s is in a city or urban area. Some are actually in small towns that have small town values. Doesn’t matter to corporate McDonald’s. Apparently, vulgarity sells burgers!

McDonald’s began promoting the “Cardi B & Offset Meal” as a limited-time offering to coincide with Valentine’s Day. The meal features a classic cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and a large Coca-Cola, a quarter-pounder with cheese and a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst, a large order of French fries and an apple pie, according to the company’s website.

The Journal noted that it was unclear how many of the more than 1,000 franchisees under McDonald’s wing were refusing to go along with the promotion.

McDonald’s also paired with the rapper Travis Scott, and franchisees pushed back against that as well. Turns out, small town franchisees might actually prefer family friendly advertising for a family friendly restaurant. What is McDonald’s going to do next, the John Wayne Gacy Happy Meal? Bad idea!

A 2020 survey of 730 McDonald’s US franchisees found that 65% were opposed to the company’s partnership with Scott, according to the report.

The company’s internal marketing guidelines reportedly include a clause that McDonald’s promotions should not use “musical partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics.

Perhaps McDonald’s should stick to the basics. Decent food, fairly clean stores, somewhat reasonable prices, and a place you can take your kids. Leave the WAP to Burger King.