McCrazy for Rick and Morty

Can you imagine driving across the Canadian – U.S border to get a McNugget sauce that was featured on mainstream television, stand in line for hours in the heat, and then go home empty handed?

Many individuals did the trip, and due to limited numbers, there was an outrage. As Rick and Morty fans fought for remaining packets, McDonald’s managed to pull the greatest marketing stunt (in any timeline.)

If you know Rick and Morty, then you’ll know that in the third season there’s a story about how Rick broke out of prison, split up his daughter’s marriage and then is involved in a huge multi-dimensional battle involving other Ricks and when it ends Morty gives a speech that blames it all on McDonald’s Szechuan sauce (which was part of its 1998 Mulan movie promotion)

Its easier to watch than to explain – I promise.


Following the sauce’s debut, social media went wild. Many fans of the Adult Swim show, started writing out on Twitter about McDonalds bringing the sauce back. McDonald’s responded to the social media outrage, and brought the sauce back for one day earlier this month. They had a release in the United States, that resulted in lines around the block, costumes, banners and a fandom that doesn’t quit. The McDonald’s team took the advertising that Rick and Morty gave them, and milked the hell out of it.

However, the fast food giant underestimated the vast demand for the sauce and not only undersupplied its stores but failed to tell its employees about the oncoming wave of crazy Rick and Morty fans that were about to invade. The lack of product (and understandably of interest by many McDonald’s employees) angered the show’s fans. People got hurt. The police were called. Lawsuits were even threatened. All Over Szechuan sauce.

Call it mayhem, call it a fluke, whatever it was, McDonald’s are marketing geniuses.


Big-scale advertisements and/or brand deals are in fact the most expensive part of the food industry. And McDonald’s? They didn’t pay a penny.

McDonalds, now understanding the gravity of the situation, have used the idea for a re-release in the winter. In a press statement, they said “Szechuan Sauce is coming back once again this winter. And instead of being a one-day-only and limited to select restaurants, we’re bringing more–a lot more–so that any fan who’s willing to do whatever it takes for Szechuan Sauce will only have to ask for it at a nearby McDonald’s.”

Many people took it as a money-making opportunity, and sold packets of the sauce in exchange for cars. The most expensive sauce packet that was bought was estimated at £12,000.

Smart companies know even bad PR is good PR and that the trick is turning these lemons into lemonade. Or honey mustard into Szechuan.

So instead of going into a different dimension, or across the border, you could end up at your favourite McDonald’s to get a bit of the sauce. If it gives you the same amount of excitement that it gave Rick, it’s worth a try, no?


Words: Tooba Haq | Subbing: Melina Zachariou

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