May 30, 2023


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KFC announces the ‘Jack Harlow Meal’ as fast food chains lean on celebrity influence

KFC announces the ‘Jack Harlow Meal’ as fast food chains lean on celebrity influence

KFC (YUM) is continuing its partnership with rapper (and Kentucky native) Jack Harlow.

On Tuesday, the fast food chain announced the new “Jack Harlow Meal,” which will drop at KFC locations nationwide beginning June 6.

The combo meal, hand-selected by Harlow himself, includes the brand’s spicy chicken sandwich, mac & cheese, secret recipe fries, a side of ranch, and a lemonade.

“From releasing ‘Come Home the Kids Miss You’ and now launching my own meal at KFC, I’m having a super blessed summer,” Harlow said in a press release.

He added that the meal brings together his childhood favorites from growing up in Louisville (like the brand’s classic mac & cheese) to newer menu items such as the spicy chicken sandwich (released in 2021) and secret recipe fries (first introduced in 2020.)

The Jack Harlow Meal (Courtesy: KFC)

The Jack Harlow Meal (Courtesy: KFC)

The move is just the latest in a series of star-studded collaborations between restaurant chains and celebrities as brands work to capture the attentions of new and younger consumers.

Last December, McDonald’s (MCD) — known for its Famous Orders campaign — collaborated with the unofficial “Queen of Christmas” Mariah Carey for a special menu rollout dubbed the “Mariah Menu.”

At the time, Carey became the latest A-lister to partner with The Golden Arches, which has been aggressively cultivating customer loyalty with a range of diverse celebrity partnerships that’s included rapper Travis Scott, Korean pop band BTS, Colombian singer J Balvin, and hip-hop artist Saweetie.

Other brands have adopted similar strategies in order to compete.

Last year, Burger King (QSR) introduced “Keep It Real” meals, an iteration of McDonald’s Famous Orders campaign. Created by celebrities, the meals use their real names instead of their better known stage monikers. Partnerships include hip hop icon Nelly, Brazilian singer Anitta and TikTok sensation Lil Huddy.

Meanwhile, Taco Bell announced last August that Grammy-award winning artist (and former Taco Bell employee) Lil Nas X would serve as the brand’s chief impact officer; Popeyes tapped Megan Thee Stallion to create her own hot sauce (ahem, “hottie sauce”); Dunkin’ teamed up with TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio for a limited-time cold brew menu item dubbed “The Charli,” and the list goes on and on.

“McDonald’s has been doing this for [awhile] and it’s worked really well, so you’re seeing others pile in,” BTIG Restaurants Analyst Peter Saleh previously told Yahoo Finance.

“Nobody wants to be left behind. It’s tough to find something that resonates and works to drive traffic…I think this will be a trend until they find something else that works,” he added.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at [email protected]

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