researchers unlock secret of McRib marketing
February 6, 2012
woulda thunk it?
appearance of McDonald’s Corp.’s McRib sandwiches aren’t as predictable
annual arrival of the Shamrock Shake. But, University of Dayton
experts think they have unlocked the secret to the popular pork
releases that have helped drive its cult following.
“We see a
noticeable trend that leads us to believe that McDonald’s uses the
exert its dominance in the market when one of its competitors starts
pork-based sandwich,” wrote Serdar Durmusoglu, assistant marketing
and Matthew Larrick, a University of Dayton MBA graduate, in a recent
researchers compared McRib releases from 1982 through 2011 to the
launch of new
products by McDonald’s competitors such as Au Bon Pain, KFC, White
Burger King and Quiznos and found the burger chain’s releases of the
coincided with competitors’ introductions of pork-based menu items.
a pork patty covered in barbecue sauce, debuted nationwide in 1982, but
pulled off the market the same year.
this point, would consider the McRib another failed new product: A
launched and demand was mediocre, so the product was discontinued,”
later, the sandwich was reintroduced in a handful of markets and again
off the market within four to eight weeks, a trend the company
2011, according to the researchers.
each new release of the McRib, McDonald’s plays up the history and
availability of the product to increase demand. For example, in 2005,
2007, the company held “McRib Farewell Tour” promotions. In 2010 and
company highlighted the history of the product with its “Legend of the
and Facebook-based “The Quest for the Golden McRib” promotions.
and Larrick contacted McDonald’s representatives, who denied McRib
were designed to suppress the competition.
has developed a cult following, and there is even a locator Web site
up where people can report a McRib sighting.
report from UD researchers, along with other articles from the Dayton Business
Journal, click here.