It’s hard to remember a boy band phenomenon quite like BTS. If you grew up during the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC heyday, that might be pretty close.
But the internet age has made it so those BTS guys are everywhere and constantly being talked about. Backstreet Boys fans had to hope they were in a magazine or something that week.
BTS mania has even made it onto McDonald’s employee T-shirts, which will roll out in restaurants across the world later this month. The shirts feature Korean lettering for BTS and McDonald’s, and the word “crew” in English. They are part of a marketing program to introduce a “BTS meal” similar to the ones Travis Scott and J. Balvin collaborated with McDonald's on.
GOT MY JOB BACK AT MCDONALDS JUST SO I COULD GET THE BTS X MCDONALDS SHIRT pic.twitter.com/aonJEhmTCW
— 𝘍𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢⁷ 🧈 (@miraclejoonie) May 14, 2021
The difference is that those two had special merchandise that fans could buy, whereas BTS is literally taking over the restaurant’s branding to some extent.
According to Korea Biz Wire, it’s the first time a U.S. food chain has created a collaborative menu item in multiple countries. These shirts, at least, will appear in 49 countries across six continents.
It really speaks to the branding power of BTS. Sure, some of the biggest names in music are getting their fast food collaborations, but they don't have their names on the employee uniforms. It also speaks to the flexibility of the McDonald's uniform, which the company has been experimenting with recently.