Promotion analysis: McDonald's Travis Scott meal

In today's Briefing, we examined the performance of McDonald's viral Travis Scott meal promotion.

For context as to why McDonald's performance is so important to the restaurant industry, consider the sheer size of the chain. McDonald’s massive footprint means that its regular market share movements can represent swings as large as the entire business of other notable brands.


For instance, if McDonald's saw a 5% increase in market share, it would be the equivalent of adding an entire chain the size of Five Guys to the market. A 10% swing is equivalent in size to Jack in the Box. And a 20% swing is the size of Sonic Drive-In.

Not only is McDonald’s size a major factor in industry dynamics, but many core competitors also share significant overlap with its customer base. For example, with Wendy’s and Burger King, 55-60% of their customers also visit McDonald’s in the same month they visit that brand.

So when McDonald's Travis Scott promotion started to pick up steam, it was a major disrupter in the restaurant market.


How did the promotion perform?

In the weeks following the launch, some weekly cyclicality in foot traffic continued, but overall McDonald's began to see a significant lift in share of foot traffic visits to the market.


Was there incremental lift in visitation?

Yes. Compared to a baseline of the 8 weeks prior to the launch, McDonald's saw a +7.6% effective lift in share of visits during the promotion period. 

Compared to some of its biggest competitors, like Wendy's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell, McDonald's overperformance in the market was significant.


Which consumer segments did McDonald's draw in with this promotion?

The Travis Scott promotion drew an especially large lift among consumer segments who are not McDonald's core guests, like Healthy Homemakers, Urban Influencers, and Affluent Adopters. These segments are alike in that they're not McDonald's core guests, who tend to skew lower-income and blue-collar.

Healthy Homemakers make restaurant dining decisions based on healthy choices and special occasions. They skew female, upper-middle income, and have 2 children in the household.

Urban Influencers are driven by healthy choices and quality. They skew female, younger, upper-middle income, and single with less children than average.

Affluent Adopters are driven by craving, treat/reward, and healthy choices. They skew female, younger-middle aged, high income, and less children than average.

They may have been drawn in by ingredient-quality messaging that McDonald's was running in TV ads simultaneously, and also the social media buzz surrounding the promotion.


Not only did McDonald’s gain market share in terms of in-person visitation, actual sales trends improved too. During the promotion, McDonald's saw:

  • A 10% effective lift in sales compared to the benchmark average
  • A moderate increase in transaction volume, and
  • A steep increase in check size.

Overall, the Travis Scott meal promotion was a massive success that bodes well for McDonald's next influencer promotion - the J Balvin meal.

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