If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Burger King is flattering the fuck out of McDonald’s by introducing its own celebrity meals this week.
While the concept is admittedly not particularly original, McDonald’s has been making bank lately through its limited-time collaborations with famous musicians. The meals themselves are nothing special — by and large, just different combinations of already-existing menu items — so success really hinges on the megawatt star power that the collaborator’s name holds. So far, McDonald’s has gone with Travis Scott, J Balvin, BTS, and Saweetie, all buzzy celebs in their own right.
The names that Burger King has chosen are a little harder to recognize: Cornell Haynes, Jr.? Larissa Machado? Chase Hudson? Part of that is by design, as Burger King — for some idiotic synergistic marketing reason related to ingredients — is hawking these meals under the moniker “Keep It Real,” as in the real names of the celebrities who are better known as Nelly, Anitta, and Lil Huddy, respectively. As any good marketer will tell you, when advertising a product it is important to avoid name recognition from your customers at all costs.
But also, not to be rude, or to be a little bit rude, are these the best celebrities Burger King could come up with? Sure, Anitta makes sense; as the biggest pop star in Brazil right now, she has dominion over a national fandom that is known to be — again, to be a little rude — deeply batshit. But Nelly hasn’t had a hit in a while, and Lil Huddy is still better known for his on-and-off-again relationship with truly famous TikTok star Charli D’Amelio than for his music, although god knows he’s trying.
But perhaps this is just what fame looks like in 2021: an accused sex pest who is trying to rebrand as a country singer, someone from Brazil, and a TikToker all shilling for a fast-food company. Sure, why not — have it your way.