If Santa Claus came down the chimney every night of the year, would he be super special or would he just be that weird old man trying to get free cookies and milk? Exactly. Which is apparently the thinking behind McDonald’s fleeting McRib season. They’ve got nothing else holiday-ish to offer up, so a barbecue pork sandwich beloved by a devoted cadre of followers is the next best thing.
McDonald’s, it turns out, is in sore need of a holiday hook. So as Peter McGuinness the CEO of DDB Chicago, the agency behind McDonald’s marketing plan puts it, the McRib shows up because “We don’t really do polar bears.”
He spoke with Business Insider to clarify why the McRib’s appearance on the market is so fleeting and unpredictable, a fact that stirs up a frenzy among the sandwich’s rabid devotees. It’s not that mysterious, after all — the McRib usually shows up some time during the holidays before fading away again.
This year the McRib is slated to appear for about for to six weeks at some point in November or December, so mark your calendars with a bunch of question marks. McGuinness says it’s not even that the sandwich is super popular, it’s that it’s a big hit among a small audience, so it has to be fleeting in order to make a splash when McD’s needs it most.
As the chain doesn’t have any big holiday-themed items, the McRib takes center stage.
It’s not a mass play year-round,” he explains, and instead works better as “a great piece of buzzy news that surprises and delights, late in the year on the marketing calendar.”
But in order for that specialness to stay fresh, alas, the McRib will always be forced to slink away into the snowy night, just as it arrives. Enjoy it while and when you can, folks.