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With Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce, Popeyes just leveled up in the celebrity arms race

McDonald’s has BTS. Now Megan Thee Stallion is getting her own Popeyes franchise.

With Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce, Popeyes just leveled up in the celebrity arms race

BTS may have their own McDonald’s dipping sauce, but Megan Thee Stallion is getting her own Popeyes franchise.

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On October 19, Popeyes is introducing Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce to spice up its Chicken Sandwich and new nuggets in the U.S. and 14 other countries around the globe. As part of the deal, the Grammy-winning artist will become a franchise owner for the fast-food company. And it wouldn’t be a celebrity collab without a co-branded, limited-edition merchandise collection. It’s called “The Heat” and includes bikinis, long-sleeve shirts, hats, tumblers, and Popeyes chicken tenders-theme plush dog toys. Get ready for these to go bonkers on the secondary market, but fans can sign up at TheeHottieSauce.com to receive updates and notification about upcoming drops.

This is just the latest is what is quickly becoming a branded celebrity arms race. McDonald’s arguably fired the first shot with Travis Scott back in September 2020, taking its Famous Orders idea global in May with K-pop superstars BTS. While Scott had a customized meal and merch collab, McDonald’s learned from the partnership and expanded its offerings for BTS to include Sweet Chili and Cajun dipping sauces adapted from popular dips at McDonald’s Korea. Also in May, salad chain Sweetgreen announced a partnership with Naomi Osaka that included a custom salad bowl and taking the tennis star on as its youngest investor. And in August, Taco Bell named Lil Nas X its newest chief impact officer. 

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The celeb ownership model isn’t new. Shaquille O’Neal, at one point, has had ownership stakes in about 155 Five Guys burgers, 17 Auntie Anne’s, and 1 Krispy Kreme franchise. And LeBron James is an investor and franchise owner of Blaze Pizza.

Still, in a media landscape that requires a big splash to gain major attention, the music artist x fast food concept is something different. Popeyes and others are finding real connections with these celebs who enjoy the products themselves, and then benefit from that love when the artists tell their millions of fans about that love. It’s a fascinating mix of business, pop culture, streetwear, and menu creation that we’ll doubtless see more of in the future.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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