The McRib is back. For the first time in 16 years, McDonald’s is offering its boneless pork patty sandwich at restaurants nationwide for approximately six weeks. And people are thrilled.
The McRib was first introduced to the McDonald’s menu in 1981, but since 1994, it has not been offered at all restaurants at the same time. According to McDonald’s USA President, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the McRib simply does not sell well throughout the year because people get tired of it. But the scarcity created by having only certain restaurants serve the sandwich at certain times has created a base of die-hard fans who will travel substantial distances – sometimes even hundreds of miles – to munch on a McRib. A meteorologist in Minnesota even developed a McRib Locator website, where users can peruse a map to see where the McRib has been spotted recently. Here’s a screenshot of the site:
The mystery of when or even whether the McRib will appear is a huge part of its appeal, and the sandwich has become somewhat of a cultural icon. There are hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to the McRib, including those demanding that it return permanently, and various McRib pages have thousands of “likes.” McDonald’s couldn’t buy this kind of fan loyalty and fervor even if it wanted to, but the company clearly understands the McRib’s appeal – billboards with a photo of the sandwich carry the simple but sassy tagline, “Sorry for being awesome.”
Yet, despite the McRib’s huge following, McDonald’s owns McRib.com but does not point it to any content. According to Alexa, traffic to McRib.com is up over 600 percent this month, so clearly people are going to the site looking for content. Just think of what kind of marketing it could do if the domain resolved to a specialized site with all of the things McRib lovers use the Internet for: locator maps, social networking opportunities, McRib meet-ups, etc. The only thing that would be better than that would be for McDonald’s to offer the McRib and the Shamrock Shake at the same time.
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