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The McRib as Misdirection

By Norman Chan

Its presence on the menu is not just correlated with the price of pork.

I hope you've seen that photo going around the Internet this week of a frozen McRib patty posted by a McDonalds' employee to Reddit. It's a reminder that the McRib is an example of McDonalds' marketing brilliance, including the generally accepted conspiracy theory that it comes and goes from the menu based on national pork prices. This in-depth analysis by The Awl in 2011 breaks that theory down and debunks that, as well as franchise owners' insight that the timing of the McRib is planned at least a year in advance. Ian Bogost's object lesson on the sandwich for The Atlantic is just as scathing, exploring how the marking of the McRib makes diners objectify and desire it. Its ephemeral status not only makes it desirable to some, but makes the rest of McDonalds menu more palatable. "The purpose of the McRib is to make the McNugget seem normal."