Fast food giant says it it’s time for the return of the McRib sandwich a year after it completed its ‘farewell tour.’
With headlines about the return of the McRib barbecue pork sandwich, I ask a simple question: Was last year’s “farewell tour” for the seasonal option clever marketing or just a big lie?
Last year, I told you about the big production the Golden Arches made about the presumed permanent departure of the sandwich. That news came one year after the chain celebrated the sandwich’s 40th anniversary. During that celebration, it referred to the McRib as “iconic.”
I get it. The McRib has long been a butt of jokes for some people who turn up their nose at anything fast food.
The McRib consists of a pork meat patty slathered in rich and tangy barbecue sauce with slivered onion and pickles, all served on a toasted bun.
If I want a “real” barbecue meal, I’m going to go to a barbecue restaurant. In the South, there are plenty to choose from. (And in South Carolina, we tend to prefer mustard-based sauce rather than the tomato-based McRib sauce.) But for what it is, and what it tries to be, the McRib can be very satisfying when you’re in a hurry and want to try something a little different on the same old menu.
That is to say, I like the McRib, thank you very much. Poke fun at the boneless patty which is molded into a shape to look like a mini rack of ribs. It doesn’t bother me. I’ll have yours.
So what was the farewell tour about?
McDonald’s added the McRib to its menu in 1981. But after four years, it left the permanent menu. From there, it would occasionally return, usually in the fall, for a few weeks. Then, it would quietly disappear again.
That left fans of the sandwich to wait for the next year’s return just like some other customers await the chain’s “Monopoly” game.
The chain managed to build a following for its little creation. With ad copy like, “Enjoy our famous pork sandwich as if it’s your last,” they presented a convincing argument that it might be.
Maybe it was just a clever way of saying that it was on a farewell tour because it would be leaving again. That wouldn’t be so egregious if it weren’t for the fact that they more than implied that it was going away for good.
Consumers don’t like being lied to
As much as some of McDonald’s customers like the McRib, many of us don’t like it when a business gives us false information. Even if that information prompts us to visit more often and partake of a product we like, we don’t want a company toying with us.
If you tell us it’s the last time we’ll see something, don’t bring it back later and act like, “Oh, big surprise!”
On the other hand, marketing consultants will surely ignore all of that. They’ll look at the sales sheets and see how well the “return of the McRib” performed. If it does well, they might argue the risk was worth the gain.
However, since it looks like the “farewell tour” was false, McDonald’s might have a harder time convincing people to grab “one more McRib” the next time they try the “goodbye forever” routine.
So when can you get yours? Good question
Supposedly, the return of the McRib is set for Nov. 1 at “participating McDonald’s locations.” That “participating locations” jazz simply gets companies off the hook if the hyped product doesn’t show up everywhere.
So where’s the list of participating locations? It doesn’t appear that anyone has said, yet.
We may have to wait and see which locations post news about the McRib — and whether any do at all.
You’d think McDonald’s would make it clear where to get one, especially after all of the drama it tried to cause last year over its imminent demise. You’d think they would want to excite as many McRib loyalists as they could.
Or that may be a sign that there aren’t as many locations that will “participate” as McRib fans might hope.
It’s also not clear how long that famous “limited time” will last? Last year, the McRib disappeared just before Thanksgiving. I think they appeared in October of last year.
That means you probably won’t have more than about three weeks to try one this time around.