Every April Fool’s Day we get our fair share of foodie fake news. This year, we got great gags from the likes of Pizza Hut, who pretended to have trained a crack team of small dogs for pizza delivery, and White Castle, who offered customers the chance to “bid” on the company’s first ever, cryogenically frozen, slider. However, the undisputed kings of fast food pranking for 2019 were the twisted minds at McDonald’s Australia.
Taking advantage of both the auspicious reputation of April 1st and the world’s apparently never ending love affair with pickles, the McDonald’s marketing department decided to come up with their greenest concept burger ever. Based on a Big Mac, the team created a sandwich stuffed with cheese, ketchup and, of course, pickles. Lots of pickles. So many pickles, in fact, that the end result was two levels, each about as thick as an ordinary patty. They christened their creation “The McPickle”.
It wasn’t just stunning visuals that helped promote the newly created McPickle concept. Accompanying their pickle-heavy picture, McDonald’s took to Twitter to drum up support, writing, “Pickle lovers, it’s the news you’ve all been waiting for. We’re super stoked to announce the launch of our brand new McPickle Burger. It’s time to tuck into juicy, flavoursome pickles layered between melted cheese, ketchup sauce and toasted sesame seed buns. It’s sure to be a treat for all your senses."
Obviously, seeing that much green on any McDonald’s item should make you inherently suspicious. Coupled with the date of publication, it’s a wonder anyone fell for the vinegar-soaked ruse. Nonetheless, within minutes, the internet was ablaze with diehard pickle-heads desperate to get their hands on a McPickle of their own. One user wrote, "omfg if this is april fools joke imma be mad (sic)," while another claimed that even if the sandwich wasn’t for real, they would “legit still eat this”. Clearly, McDonald’s hadn’t anticipated just how popular their prank would become.
As if they needed more evidence of the product’s potential viability, photos quickly emerged of a McDonald’s fan taking matters into his own hands. Also writing on Twitter, a user from Tasmania uploaded a photo captioned “The McPickle is real,” which included a picture of a real life version of the new sandwich, followed by a copy of the order receipt. The instructions include ordering a Big Mac with no sauce, onions, or beef, and add ketchup and three extra pickles.
Once it became clear that the McPickle wasn’t going to be making an appearance on menus any time soon, the internet’s excitement quickly turned to annoyance. Not only were frustrated pickle-thusiasts left disappointed, but the promotion became an inadvertent opportunity for fans to complain about the chain’s apparent unwillingness to deliver on any order containing “extra pickles”. Pretty soon, the whole world seemed to agree that McDonald’s pickle service falls woefully short. The story just goes to show that if you’re an international food brand, even having a joke has consequences.