The rapper was the first celebrity to get his own meal since Michael Jordan in 1992.

By Mike Pomranz
December 07, 2020
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Ask any musician: Racking up pennies for streams on Spotify is a slow way to make millions. For top-tier superstars, the big bucks are often coming from avenues other than recorded music whether it’s Jay-Z shilling champagne or Ed Sheeran teaming up with Heinz. Recently, rapper Travis Scott has joined the ranks of celebrities with bona fide marketing appeal—and a report suggests his recent headline-grabbing deal with McDonald’s earned the icon way more than a gold record.

According to a feature published by Forbes last week, Travis Scott made roughly $20 million after teaming up with MickeyD’s in September. (No wonder fellow recording artist J Balvin jumped on a similar promotion the next month.) “Forbes estimates Scott earned at least $5 million from the traditional endorsement part of the deal and another $15 million from merchandise sales,” the business site wrote.

Travis Scott Surprises crew and customers at McDonald's for the Launch of The Travis Scott Meal
Credit: Jerritt Clark / Stringer/Getty Images

As you may recall, the heart of Scott’s promotion was a signature combo meal, which McDonald’s played up as its first celebrity-named meal since the ‘90s. But for Scott, the more lucrative part of the partnership was an array of co-branded merchandise—mixing the Golden Arches with the rapper’s own Cactus Jack label on items like shirts, shorts, and a McNugget-shaped body pillow. Travis told Forbes that McDonald’s was initially reluctant about the extent to which his team wanted to push the promotion, but that they eventually came around. “After a while, they allowed us to do it,” he was quoted as saying. “Ended up working out.”

For Scott, yes, things clearly worked out, but McDonald’s wasn’t disappointed either. “We’re super-thrilled with the demand this partnership created,” says Jennifer Healan, McDonald’s vice president of U.S. marketing, added.

Meanwhile, with that kind of marketing success under his belt, plenty of companies continue to come calling: His estimated 2020 earnings are reportedly pushing into nine-figure territory. And in the food and beverage space, Forbes teased a forthcoming hard seltzer brand Scott is apparently working on with beer giant AB InBev called Cacti. Whether there will be a can-shaped body pillow is yet to be seen.