McDonald's Szechuan Sore | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

McDonald’s Szechuan Sore

McDonald's attempt to placate Rick and Morty fans demonstrates the restaurant chain's ignorance, argues Comment Writer Samuel Yearley

What started off as a senseless gag at the opening of Rick and Morty Season 3 quickly grew into a cash grab for McDonalds as they did their best to publicise the fact that a popular show has a joke about how delicious their food is. I am of course talking about Szechuan Sauce, the now infamous condiment produced by McDonalds originally to promote the film Mulan, and now brought back for one last poorly planned marketing stunt.

Without fail across the US the release of the Szechuan Sauce on Saturday was a failure. Best case scenarios saw an organised system doling out the sauce fairly and still leaving many fans disappointed. Worst case scenarios saw the police get involved to keep angry crowds under control after being told they were not getting any of the sauce. Before I get any further into this article I want to make two things clear: 1) The fans that have reacted with public outrage and aggressive behaviour are wholly unreasonable, regardless of how delicious the sauce might have been. 2) The real victims here are the McDonalds employees who had to deal with unreasonable R&M fans due to a situation that was completely out of their control.

Without fail across the US the release of the Szechuan Sauce on Saturday was a failure

The cause of this marketing mess is clearly that the McDonalds executives in charge of this did not do enough research into the popularity of the show, as well as the already established toxicity of some of the overzealous fans. We have already seen many fans consider themselves superior to those who do not enjoy the show, as well as sending abuse towards the female writers of the show. If McDonalds had taken the latter into account, they may have thought twice about targeting this specific group with their new marketing campaign. At the very least they might have ensured that the event could've handle the very high numbers that turned up. The failure here lies with the team at McDonalds that is supposed to understand the different demographics within their marketing strategy who, due to lack of research, under estimated the number and volatility of Rick and Morty fans.

Many fans consider themselves superior to those who do not enjoy the show

The angry response from the fans, though unreasonable, is understandable. Never before has a “limited-edition” offer from McDonalds meant that, if you really wanted it, you would be unable to try what was on offer. I imagine it was akin to going to DFS only to find there was no sale on and all sofas were full price. Though if these fans were as smart as they think they are they might have thought to watch a video of the Rick and Morty writing team trying the sauce and finding it very underwhelming. Unfortunately for McDonalds, they are not in the business of pleasing reasonable people, they are in the business of pleasing everyone. So, for their sake, the secondary release of Szechuan sauce this winter had better be a success or they might dig themselves further into this hole.



13th October 2017 at 9:00 am

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