Writing a column for the school newspaper isn’t a bad gig. Sometimes I’m assigned to a piece where I go to McDonald’s for a column. But, on the downside, sometimes I’m assigned to a piece where I have to go to McDonald’s. The duality of the human experience, I suppose. Anyway, here’s my review of the J Balvin Meal, or as I call it, the Balvin Burger.
Perhaps you remember the recent Travis Scott collaboration with McDonald’s and the viral campaign to get millions of people to overpay for a regular McDonald’s burger and a watered down Sprite.
This collaboration came after other PR stunts by Scott, most notably his Fortnite concert in April. I decided to try his meal for the joke and was left with a funny receipt and a meal that tasted like anything else you’d buy from McDonald’s. I must confess, I did not get the Sprite with extra ice because I wasn’t going to pay extra for a worse soda. While I wasn’t interested or impressed with the Travis Scott burger, the BBQ sauce on my french fries was equally underwhelming.
When I found myself at the golden arches once again, I couldn’t help but notice that there was a new collaboration with Colombian singer J Balvin. Balvin came into American mainstream music recently with his feature on the 2018 hit “I Like It” by Cardi B. With a respectable discography of his own, J Balvin launched a branding collaboration with McDonald’s with much less fanfare than the Travis Scott Meal.
So what makes a “Balvin Burger”? Well, according to McDonald’s, it’s a Big Mac. That’s it. On my receipt it says, “The J Balvin,” but everything I was reading on the menu indicated that the J Balvin burger is just a Big Mac. They even use the exact same cheeseburger photo for the J Balvin meal on the sign. The meal comes with an Oreo McFlurry, and the groundbreaking and inspired side: a medium order of fries.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been eating out more than I like to, and I was not craving the usual fast food slop on this particular day. But I hadn’t had a Big Mac in a while, so I was at least hopeful that there would be something interesting. I am very good at lying to myself.
“The J Balvin,” AKA the Big Mac, is a double decker burger that, if other McDonald’s locations are using the same formula, comes absolutely gushing with mayonnaise and lettuce. The lettuce is, of course, shredded. The Oreo McFlurry was also a typical experience: not as good as you’d think it would be. Honestly, my favorite part of the meal was the fries. I have nothing to say about the fries, except that I am a dirty little pig who likes to eat grease and salt, and I like grease and salt that has been buttered onto a soft potato. McDonald’s fries aren’t amazing, but I keep crawling back for more like the filthy whore I am. Papa needs his fries.
At the end of the day, this is a brand partnership with current celebrities. If you think it sounds dumb, welcome to marketing. Check it out for $6.99 if you think it’s funny. If not, there is no reason to waste your money on anything more expensive than a McDouble and those greasy, steamy, sexy little fries.