Would you like a side of K-pop disappointment with that new BTS Meal from McDonald’s?
Millions of fans already think the men of BTS are a snack. Now they’re a meal.
From somewhere in the cosmic nexus of K-pop and fast food, the BTS Meal is available starting today at McDonald’s restaurants across America (and 10 other countries, but not yet in the band’s native South Korea). However, its lack of the purple BTS-specific packaging found in other countries is disappointing some fans Stateside.
One Twitter user noted Wednesday that the McDonald’s effort “was very misleading not to mention that the US was not going to get the full glory.”
The meal is made of 10 Chicken McNuggets, medium fries, a medium Coke and two dipping sauces new to the U.S.: Sweet Chili and Cajun. The fast-food chain said the flavors are “new limited-time sauces picked by BTS and inspired by McDonald’s South Korea.” Exactly the kind of strict dietary regimen any Bulletproof Boy Scout needs.
No, butter is not included.
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The meal dropped in the U.S. and 10 other countries Wednesday and will hit 11 more Thursday, including South Korea. It will march irresistibly through 50 more countries in May and June, though it will be available stateside only until June 20.
For dessert, there’s BTS BTS (“BTS: Behind The Scenes”) content available through the burger behemoth’s app. There’s “an immersive backstage experience,” the BTS x McD Flipbook, the “final backstage 360 experience” and a virtual portrait series, one dropping each week.
And if that isn’t enough special sauce for you, also up for grabs is a merchandise line including “dynamite threads like hoodies, purple bathrobes, socks and sandals.” McDonald’s and BTS are launching a collaborative merchandise line Wednesday on the Weverse Shop app. Weverse is a fan-community app created by BTS’ record label.
BTS members released quotes to promote the meal, such as rapper RM’s: “It truly means so much to have a meal named after us. We are super excited to share our go-to order with everyone. I can’t still believe that we have this purple package and our name on it.” It sounds better if you imagine him rapping it.
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Some fans were predictably enthusiastic about the promotion. On Twitter, one uploaded video of a franchise in San Francisco festooned with balloons and photos of BTS: “YOOOOO THE MCDONALDS IN SAN FRANCISCO STONESTOWN DID NOT COME TO PLAY TODAY!!!”
A Minnesota radio station tweeted a photo of BTS member RM seemingly sheepish while eating a McNugget with the text, “My face when the cashier at #McDonaldsXBTS catches me coming through the drive through for the 5th today... #BTSMeal”
Many, however, have been unsatisfied with the packaging, which varies internationally. After a fan complained that a location in Marietta, Ga., didn’t have all the BTS-specific purple items, another explained, “The #BTSMeal in the U.S does not have the BTS Cup or McNuggets box since packaging is different across the globe.” Included was a screenshot of a McDonald’s “Guest Questions” answer list verifying that those items, which are available in some other countries, are not available here. Later in the thread, the user wrote, “Let me add also that just adding the sauce, does not make it a BTS meal for me. The packaging was everything.”
Another posted a photo of two of the meals, showing the only special packaging being of the sauces, saying, “I truly thought that after these 2 weeks that @McDonalds knew BTS ARMY better. They interacted with so many of us & many comments about wanting the packaging as keepsakes. It was very misleading not to mention that the US was not going to get the full glory. So sad.”
One tweeted side-by-side photos of the purple cups and McNugget boxes available in other countries and the United States meal without them, writing, “EXPECTATION VS. REALITY DO BETTER USA @McDonalds #BTSMeal #TheSaucesAreGoodThough”
The BTS Meal is the first of McDonalds’ “signature orders” (celebrity-partnered meals) to debut globally, though the other domestic collaborations (with Travis Scott and J Balvin) also included merchandise tie-ins.
The Scott meal had fans so lovin’ it upon its September 2020 release that, according to a memo McDonald’s sent to franchisees, it caused shortages in key ingredients: “We’ve created a program that’s so compelling to our customers that it’s stretching our world-class supply chain; and if demand continues at these levels, more restaurants will break supply,” the memo said.
The company later confirmed the connection between the shortages and the Scott meal to USA Today.
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