Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Smooth like BUTTER!” – How did this campaign grow this brand’s sales by 57% in Q2 2021? [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

August 11, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

Welcome to today’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!” 

Have you heard about this marketing strategy? 

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, guerrilla marketing is unconventional. It’s effective because it’s engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive. Campaigns of this type make a huge impact and easily stick to consumers’ minds. 

Today, let’s talk about a phenomenal marketing stunt pulled by global fast food chain McDonald’s in 2021. 

Keep reading to know how the brand captured worldwide attention and increased its sales through a brilliant collaboration strategy. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Influencer Marketing is one of the marketing strategies used by different brands across industries. It involves using endorsements and product mentions from people who have a HUGE social following and are viewed as experts in their niche. 

This type of marketing works because of the high amount of trust that influencers have built with their fans/followers. Whatever these celebrities/experts say or recommend serves as a form of social proof to a brand’s potential customers. 

Did you know that in 2021, global fast food chain McDonald’s used influencer marketing as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign? 

The result of this strategy was a type of marketing that was “smooth like butter”… 

From “Happy Meal” to “Famous Meal” 

In September 2020, McDonald’s teamed up with American rapper Travis Scott and launched the Travis Scott Meal. The package consisted of the rapper’s favorite items from the brand, which are medium-sized Sprite drink, quarter pounder with bacon, and fries with barbecue sauce. 

The fast food chain generated over USD 20 million in sales for the entire duration of the partnership. Additionally, the marketing tactic helped grow McDonald’s sales by 4.6% in the third quarter of 2020. 

The “Famous Meal” didn’t end there… 

Just a month after—October 2020—McDonald’s signed a new deal with the “Prince of Reggaeton” J. Balvin and launched the J. Balvin Meal

Similar to the Travis Scott Meal, the package consisted of the singer’s favorite food items: Big Mac, medium fries with ketchup, and Oreo McFlurry. 

The fast food brand’s sales further grew by 3.6% as a result of the second collaboration with an artist. However, these meals weren’t McDonald’s best move yet. 

The burger chain still had another strategy up its sleeve—from May 2021 to June 2021, McDonald’s released its “Most Famous Meal,” which was a marketing onslaught that made millions of people around the world a willing victim. 

 We’re talking about… 

The BTS Meal

Photo from South China Morning Post

BTS is one of the most successful South Korean boy groups in the world. Formed in 2010 and debuted in 2013 under the South Korean agency Big Hit Entertainment, the group consists of members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, V, RM, Jimin, and Jungkook. 

Photo from Talent Recap

As of 2022, BTS is the best-selling group in South Korean history. Its many accolades include 9 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 24 Golden Disc Awards. The group is also part of TIME magazine’s list of “25 Most Influential People on the Internet” and “100 Most Influential People in the World.” 

Because of these recognitions and a HUGE following, BTS became the perfect choice to significantly help McDonald’s attract more customers. 

The BTS Meal consisted of 10- or 9-piece Chicken McNuggets (depending on what region you’re in), regular-sized Coke, medium fries, and 2 limited edition dipping sauces—Sweet Chili and Cajun. 

The food packaging was also redesigned to show the BTS logo and the boy group’s color: Purple. Even the paper bags for take-out BTS Meals have the purple BTS logo on them! 

These were enough to get ARMYs (the name of BTS’ fans) to storm the nearest McDonald’s store and get their hands on their idols’ favorite items from the fast food chain. 

Photo from ABS-CBN News

The McDonald’s x BTS craze didn’t simply end with customers having a full stomach. 

Some fans got so ecstatic that they didn’t throw away the BTS Meal’s packaging! They did every possible means to preserve the food boxes and paper bags, such as putting them in a frame, storing them in a box, creating resin art, etc. Others also posted about their purchase on social media. 

Wow. Who knew a McDonald’s meal could be this phenomenal? 

Thanks to BTS’ popularity, the fast food brand was able to make a good kind of wave amid the COVID-19 pandemic! 

Way to go, McDonald’s! 

The BTS Meal marketing strategy lasted from May 2021 to June 2021. The promotional meal was released in select countries such as: 

  • US
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • Sint Maarten

Was McDonald’s BTS Meal marketing campaign effective? 

Through the BTS Meal, McDonald’s managed to take one of its simplest menu items and transform it into a cash cow. All the company needed to do was sign a brand deal with BTS and redesign its food and paper packaging. 

These were the results of the BTS Meal guerrilla marketing strategy: 

  • In the Philippines, McDonald’s sold nearly 3.5 million pieces of Chicken McNuggets on the launch day of the BTS Meal. 
  • In Indonesia, over a dozen McDonald’s branches were ordered to temporarily close due to a breach in physical distancing protocols. More than 100,000 delivery riders flocked the stores simultaneously to buy the promotional meal. 
  • In the US, McDonald’s Q2 2021 sales grew by 26% from its sales in Q1 2021. 
  • Overall, the fast food chain’s worldwide revenues reached USD 6 billion in Q2 2021, up by 57% from Q2 2020. 
  • The BTS Meal garnered over 20 million social media impressions. 

Clearly, these numbers show that the BTS Meal was a success. It was a truly brilliant move by McDonald’s to team up with the South Korean boy group in its marketing strategy! 



One of the factors that led to the campaign’s success was McDonald’s ability to tap into BTS’ large fanbase all over the world. The BTS Meal’s success in generating buzz and capturing the attention of fans—and non-fans—shows the power that influencer marketing holds. 

Some might argue that the promotional meal was just “crazy.” For instance: Spending a premium on a branded-but-still-ordinary pack of chicken nuggets wasn’t just worth it. 

However, marketing campaigns like this show that value is not only found in money but also in things that people desire… and currently, there’s plenty of value in a brand like BTS. 

Besides, the BTS Meal created a feeling of authenticity from something ordinary like a typical McDonald’s meal. By giving the public an opportunity to try the South Korean boy group’s favorite order, the fast food chain enabled customers to somehow feel connected to BTS. 

—this authenticity helped build trust and interest in the “Famous Meal.” 

We hope you find today’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing” feature interesting! 

While engaging with an influencer like BTS to endorse your brand’s offerings may be out of your budget, it’s still possible for you to reach your target market through authentic recommendations from other influencers or several loyal customers. 

Who knows? With the right marketing strategy, you and your brand can also generate positive buzz in your industry. 

It’s time to make your marketing campaigns and strategies “smooth like butter!” 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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