McDonald's McRib success

The once-elusive McRib sandwich is now a pop-culture phenomenon, creating enough buzz to make competitors drool.

By Kim Peterson Nov 18, 2010 4:02PM
Credit: © David Paul Morris/Getty Images
Caption: A McRib is seen at a McDonald's restaurantThe McRib sandwich might be the most bizarre thing in the fast-food world right now. We're talking about chopped pork re-formed into fake ribs, people!

But that doesn't matter to McDonald's (MCD). Because whether you like it or hate it, you know what it is. People love to talk about the McRib.

It's the subject of televised news reports. Of newspaper articles. Of blog posts (ahem). It's a conversation staple on Facebook, and it even has its own account on Twitter.

That's a marketing coup for McDonald's. It's unusual for such a large and institutional brand to generate that kind of buzz, but the company has done it.

Whether the McRib can affect the company's bottom line remains to be seen. The sandwich went on sale Nov. 2, so we may see an impact in the November sales results that McDonald's is scheduled to release on Dec. 8. Post continues after video:
McDonald's has gotten a ton of mileage on the McRib's "limited time only" status. It's only available nationwide for six weeks. That gets people into stores sooner rather than later, perhaps out of curiosity or a genuine craving for the sandwich.

"I know people who hate it, and I know people who love it," one analyst told Fortune. "The point is that they're thinking about McDonald's."

The McRib has been around for years, of course, but only temporarily. It's never been available nationwide until now. And McDonald's jumped on the opportunity to create buzz about the elusive, hard-to-get sandwich that is finally easy to get.

"Maybe it is just a great post-modern marketing joke," mused Jim Shahin in The Washington Post.

Maybe. But the joke worked -- and McDonald's is reaping the rewards.

Nov 18, 2010 9:52PM
Why does McD's only have McRibs six weeks a year... figure it out...look at the calendar... everyone's eating turkey about now... somebody's got to buy all the pork...who better than McD's w/ their demand... it used to be reasonably priced... but the 'cult status' has raised it's price... & McD's profits... but I still like the sandwich !
Nov 20, 2010 9:42PM
Nov 19, 2010 5:12PM
I work at McDonalds and we sell a crap load of those. Personally I could take it or leave it. I dont see what the big deal is. I guess cause its something different than a burger or chicken.
Nov 19, 2010 11:36AM
I had one when they first came out. The pickles & sauce taste horrible together. My second bite had something "crunchy" in the "meat" -- the thing looks like a bunch of fingers fused together -- my imagination took over and I threw up in my car. It was probably just pig cartilage (and not someone's finger) but I haven't been able to think of it as food since then.  For me, McRib=McRevulsion. 
Nov 18, 2010 11:39PM
It's just reformulated Spam, isn't it?
Nov 18, 2010 5:59PM
It's unusual for such a large and institutional brand to generate that kind of buzz, but the company has done it.

Hey, they learned from  that donut company who gave away so much product on the air and at Wall St.  Now I cant even remember their name.


But, McDonalds sales arent really going to show  honest increases because they have been flooding the market with coupons for freebies and  Buy One, Get One Frees.


Now, if only they catered to my need for a sandwich combining the all day Breakfast Jack with  Gardenburger!



Nov 19, 2010 9:36AM
The Mcrib is the most hideous tasting item fast food has ever invented. I'd rather have bbq cardboard than that sandwich
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