McDonald’s found out the hard way this weekend that there are a LOT of Rick and Morty fans out there, and that pissing those fans off really isn’t a good idea.
The hit comedy, which is now more popular than The Big Bang Theory among young people, has just finished its third season, and its most recent instalment has left fans hungry - not only for more episodes, but for a very specific McDonald’s dipping sauce from the ‘90s.
One of the show’s running themes is Rick’s obsession with McDonald’s’ Szechuan sauce - a one-time promotion they released back in 1998 to celebrate the release of Disney’s Mulan.
The problem is, Rick’s obsession has led to thousands upon thousands of fans deciding that their lives were no longer worth living unless they got to put some of this fabled sauce in their mouths - just it no longer exists.
McDonald’s, sensing an easy PR move, decided to pounce on this, and agreed to bring the sauce back - for one day only - in the US this weekend. Easy win right? You make some sauce, you make some money, you make the fans happy, everyone’s a winner?
Uh, well, in reality, the promotion could not have gone worse - to the point that children (and grown adults) were left crying, and some Rick and Morty fans are now swearing off Maccy D’s for life. LIFE!
See, Ronald and co. either hugely underestimated the number of Rick and Morty fans out there, or underestimated just how badly they wanted this sauce. Some fans drove for literally an entire day to try and find a store that was selling it, only to be disappointed, leaving a lot of very angry people very far from home, with nowhere but social media to vent their frustration.
See, exhibits A, B and C:
I have to say, this whole thing is just a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? McDonald’s probably should have done their research and realised just how popular Rick and Morty is - that would have helped them realise that putting on such a limited run of the sauce was probably a terrible idea, PR-wise - but also, come on, these are grown adults driving and queuing for literal hours to eat a sauce they saw on a cartoon.
Honestly, it’s hard to have sympathy for anyone in the whole debacle. Maccy’s were eventually forced to issue an apology on Twitter, but that didn’t stop the baying crowds from calling for clown blood. Not even close.
Obviously where there are people angry about something like this, there are also loads of people taking the piss out of them, which definitely won’t make the sauce-less Rick and Morty fans feel any better about their weekends.
However, despite all the anger, wasted miles in petrol, police call outs and tears, it looks like this story is going to have a happy ending. McDonald’s tweeted last night that it will try again with the sauce this winter, and this time it’ll be a much larger run, and a promotion that will last for longer than just a day.
“We want to make this right,” they said in a statement. “You’re some of the best fans in this, or any, dimension… and we plan to deliver on that promise [bringing back the sauce] as soon as possible. Stay tuned.”
So there you go. I guess the moral of the story is if you get mad enough about something online, you will eventually get everything you desire. A good lesson for us all, don’t you think…