30 August 2008

McRib - the Brett Favre of Sandwiches

McDonald's just dealt my waistline some devastating news: the McRib is back. Deemed disgusting by 85% of America (53% of statistics are made up), the 15% of people like me who love this processed meat delight get positively giddy when they learn that it's available for sale.

In the 1990's the McRib was available periodically as a specialty sandwich, but never on the permanent menu. Then, in 2005, a clever McDonald's marketer created the McRib Farewell Tour to scare fanboys like me into believing this was our last chance to have our beloved sandwich. I ate a world of McRibs that year...effectively reducing my life expectancy from 76 to around 49 years. When the "Farewell Tour" ended, so too did my passion for McDonald's.

Then came 2006, when McDonald's proudly launched the McRib Farewell Tour II. I was again a loyal customer, visiting nearly on a weekly basis. Then, the Brett Favre of fast food sandwiches was back again in 2007 for the McRib Farewell Tour III.

And now it's back again...

Enough already!

Consumers are smarter than this aren't they? Surely the reaction to these publicity stunts is negative, right?

Not sure. At the end of the day, whether I think McDonald's is playing me like an idiot or not, I will continue to buy McRibs (and totally disgust my wife). Is there a credit union lesson in here?

OK, I'm not going to encourage you to mislead your membership. But how about seasonal offerings? One of my favorite examples of a seasonal CU offering was Industrial CU's share certificate program last year that tied their rate to the number of yards the Seattle Seahawks gained each week. If they gained 450 yards in total offense, a 4.50% APY certificate was available. Cool program, right? It generates excitement, plays on local interests, and gives members a compelling reason to think about their credit union each time they see their favorite team's box score.

How about making every, say, February your credit union's official online bill pay month with incentives given for new sign-ups and number of bills paid?

Take a page from Discover Card's book, and offer extra rewards points or cash back on purchases in certain categories at different times of the year.

I think my point is that maybe McDonald's has learned that having the same menu 24/7/365 is boring. So too, is offering the same financial products/services at your credit union all the time. If you're creative, who knows? Maybe you can expand your membership like McDonald's has expanded my waist.


Tim McApine said...

Excellent advice. I'm trying to come up with something clever to add, but I've got nothing. Having never tried the McRib, I'm trying not to judge you.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Tim - Canadians are smarter than McRib lovers like me...let's just leave it at that! :)

BenJoe said...

Great Post! This got my creative juices flowing again. Also I am starving for a McRib.


Denise Wymore said...

It reminds me of the first Cher Farewell tour. I think she's on her fourth. The point being - it keeps working. She's got devoted fans and let's face it - she's constantly changing the menu.

As for your McRib obsession. I might try one just for you. It always sounded so disgusting. But for research - I'll take one for the team.

Keep you posted.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Denise I can take no responsibility for any ill-effects experienced as a result of McRib ingestion. Just sayin'.

[There, lawyers. Happy?]

Eric said...

You say that 53% of statistics are made up, but I think this graphic is more accurate still.


Tony Mannor said...

There is a furniture store up the street from us that has a "Going out of Business" sale about once a month.

They have been doing it for years. I guess it comes down to creating a sense of urgency.

I like rotating special offers, as long as they are newsworthy. Don't take a great suggestion like this and try to hype up a CD unless you are offering a 10% CD for the first 10 (drawn out of a bucket of applicants) people on October 10th at 10 oclock at a maximum of $10,000 - I would wait outside for that kind of promo! Yeah, you will go negative on the offer (like almost every really good offer)- but think of the press and hubub and the mailing list of people who signed up. It could be your McRib.

Just a thought.