McDonald's Seizes on Szechuan Sauce and Marketing Idea From 'Rick and Morty'

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The art for McD's Szechuan sauce evokes 'Rick and Morty.'
The art for McD's Szechuan sauce evokes 'Rick and Morty.' Credit: McDonald's

McDonald's is "carping them diems" with a new marketing splash bringing back the Szechuan dipping sauce made popular by "Rick and Morty."

During the season of the Adult Swim cartoon's finale, McDonald's announced the sauce from the '90s would make a limited comeback at select restaurants on Oct. 7, a response to fans of the show, which had a running reference to the McNugget sauce initially developed for the Disney movie "Mulan."

"Rick and Morty" has become a phenomenon with Schwifty millennials and more. The sic-fi cartoon, created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, ended its third season on Sunday night.

When the season premiered, the main character Rick was obsessed with the dipping sauce, and McDonald's jumped at the chance to be part of the marketing phenomenon. It even made a special batch just for the creators.

Roiland and Harmon posted a video of his team taste-testing the sauce to mixed reviews.

Now, everyone can join in. McDonald's is promoting the special offer for the Szechuan sauce with a website devoted to its new chicken tenders, for which it created 10 new sauces. It also went to "Rick and Morty" central on Reddit to show the artwork for the sauce container, bought ads on the site and promoted the sauce on Twitter.

McDonald's created a new account on Reddit over the summer, coinciding with the Szechuan sauce promotion, becoming one of the first brands with its own Reddit page, which is a new feature for publishers and marketers on the site to post their own content.

"We're also giving away a one-time only, limited-edition, run of Szechuan Sauce in select restaurants," McDonald's says on its chicken tenders site. "And when we say limited, we mean really, really limited!"

McDonald's has been working on the marketing effort with DDB and the custom creative shop DDB helped build for the food chain called We Are Unlimited, as well as Golin.

McDonald's is not specifically referencing the raunchy, adult-themed cartoon in its marketing materials, and the art for the sauce container doesn't show any of the main characters.

We'll have to wait until next season to see what Evil Morty thinks about that. And there's no word on a new line of "Pickle Rick" Macs.

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