Full-phat rapping

Rap artists are accustomed to name-checking prestige car, clothing and jewellery brands in their lyrics. But if McDonald’s has its way Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and 50 Cent may soon be giving it up for the humble beef burger.

The fast-food giant is reported to be launching a campaign that will offer financial incentives to rap artists who mention its Big Mac burger in their lyrics.
McDonald’s will not pay an upfront fee, but intends to pay the artist between $1 and $5 each time a track is played on the radio. It hopes to have several such songs on the airwaves in the next few months.

Walt Riker, a spokesperson for McDonald’s in the United States, said the initiative would be conducted by the US marketing firm Maven Strategies, which last year managed to get Seagram’s gin mentioned in five rap songs.

Tony Rome, Maven’s president, said his aim was to identify artists whose style would identify with the brand. McDonald’s would have final approval of the lyrics, he said.

The campaign was condemned by the US lobby group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. It accused McDonald’s of targeting a young audience who were already particularly prone to obesity.

The group’s founder, Susan Linn, said: “They’re dumping one of their most high-fat, high-calorific products on kids in a way that the kids won’t even know that it’s happening.’’

Riker denied that claim, saying: “Our customers are smart. They know how to make choices that are right for them.’’ — Â

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