A McDonald’s Promotion Aimed At Fans Of A Popular Cartoon Backfired In Spectacular Fashion
Hell hath no fury like “Rick and Morty” fans scorned.
McDonald’s was reminded over the weekend that even a “fun” promotion can be very bad for business if a company fails to meet expectations. Thousands of fans were left frustrated (and vocal) after lining up for hours to enjoy an event tied in with the popular Adult Swim sci-fi cartoon “Rick and Morty.”
In the much-anticipated season three premiere of the geek-friendly show, the titular Rick goes on a mission to procure “Szechuan sauce,” a short-lived chicken McNugget dipping sauce that was launched by McDonald’s as a tie-in to the Disney film “Mulan.” In short order, the show’s fanbase, most of whom were unaware of the product’s existence prior to the show, were petitioning the fast food giant to re-introduce the sauce for the sake of “Rick and Morty” fans everywhere.
Three months later, fans of the show were afforded access to both Szechuan sauce and posters over the weekend by visiting their local McDonald’s franchise. No less than three tweets from the company promised the “Rick and Morty” faithful in the days leading up to the “event.”
However, McDonald’s failed to estimate both the turnout and the enthusiasm “Rick and Morty” fans had for getting their hands on the now-fabled Szechuan sauce. Die-hards turned out in droves only to discover that each store was in woefully short supply of the promised goods.
As one may imagine, disappointed cartoon fans can create quite a scene in the wake of unmet expectations.
Cops are at Wellington McDonalds where tons of angry people lined up for hrs for Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce only… https://t.co/OM87bxPtgv— Lulu Ramadan (@Lulu Ramadan) 1507400239.0
The event was to be conducted at select stores only, but even those on the roster of participating locations never received the goods, leading eager fans to realize that they had camped out — yup, some camped out hours ahead of time for nugget sauce — for no reason.
@luluramadan Common theme, I tried two in Delaware that @McDonalds website said had it, and they say they never got… https://t.co/C0sy2Zedw9— 𝐊𝐲𝐥𝐞 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐦 (@𝐊𝐲𝐥𝐞 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐦) 1507401123.0
As quickly as McDonald’s built up the event, the chain was quick to apologize for the gross miscalculation and promise more in the very near future.
The best fans in the multiverse showed us what they got today. We hear you & we're sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan.— McDonald's (@McDonald's) 1507405684.0
You spoke. We’ve listened. Lots more #SzechuanSauce and locations. Details soon. And that’s the wayyy the news goes! https://t.co/ooIrbZBsOw— McDonald's (@McDonald's) 1507505299.0
The reassurance is cold comfort to those who wonder how a promotion so modest in scope could be bungled by such a large company, leading many Twitter users to assert that other chains might have been a little more pop-culture savvy about the whole affair.
@McDonalds It's sauce. Why is it super limited? You're a global chain & making enough sauce for 1 day is too hard?… https://t.co/mPSL27loTB— Deric (@Deric) 1507409255.0
Per the company’s announcement, much more Szechuan sauce will be hitting stores this winter. So, depending on your outlook, you can either get really excited about this news or temper your expectations accordingly.