Improve your marketing with McRib

McRib factory

There's marketing gold in them thar McRibs!

I was noticing people on Facebook trumpeting the return of McRib, and it made me realize what a fabulous job McDonald’s does with this product. 

McRib is a low-grade pork sandwich dipped in bbq sauce with onions. No matter where you live, you can probably get better bbq any time you like, but McRib seems special to people.  There are lessons here that you can apply to your own online marketing efforts.

1)      Exclusivity – McRib only comes around once a year.  If they offered it every day it wouldn’t seem like anything to get excited about.  However, by rationing it, they can trumpet the return every year and make it seem special.  Do you think Time Magazine would run a story on the Quarter Pounder with Cheese?

You might hold a specific contest only once a year, but by hyping it up and encouraging discussion and participation you can get your followers excited.

2)      Continuity – Instead of the “Jones Light Bulbs photo contest”, why not have an annual photo contest? Hold a countdown on your social media outlets (2 months until…, 10 days until…).

If the first contest (or whatever promotion you choose) only gets moderate results, try it again the next year.  Not a new contest – the same one, and bill it as “Jones Light Bulbs second annual photo contest”. Build a sense of continuity and anticipation.

Be patient with this – after all, the McRib was introduced in the mid-80s and took years to catch on.

3)      Community – McRib gives people something to talk about.  When I questioned why someone would want a McRib on Facebook, I received an earful from the McRib army. 

The “event” status of McRib’s yearly relaunch has turned people from mere consumers into McRib advocates and evangelists.

Similarly, you can help your online marketing by offering exclusive Facebook-only or Twitter-only promotions that encourage people to “become a fan”.  They feel like they are part of the club.

You don’t need to be McDonald’s to follow these steps. While I wouldn’t recommend eating a McRib, the campaign is chock full of marketing minerals!


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