Home > Focus on Japan 2007, Health Issues > MegaMacs MegaScam?

MegaMacs MegaScam?

February 3rd, 2007

A few weeks ago I blogged on the MegaFattening MegaMac at Mickey D’s here in Japan. Since then, as reader Jeff pointed out, reports have come out that the MegaMac is so popular that it sells out too quickly–and McDonald’s stores have had to limit sales of the burger at each store to ration the item.

Customers who go away disappointed are given a rain-check coupon to get the MegaMac at another time for a discount–190 yen instead of the regular 350 yen. One such coupon is pictured below; Sachi got one when she tried to order a MegaMac and was told that they were sold out. (Though I have no idea why she would want one–hell, the burger is almost bigger than she is.)

McD’s outlets have limited sales of the special item to “dozens or hundreds” per store per day.


Frankly speaking, I smell a marketing scam. First of all, how could they “run out”? The MegaMac is essentially a Big Mac with two extra patties. Is McDonald’s running out of Big Macs and patties? Nope. So what’s the problem? Do they actual have the materials but their accounting system can’t allow parts for one burger to be used for a different burger? Sounds ludicrous, but I suppose it’s possible.

However, I think that it is more likely that McDonald’s saw an opportunity for a PR device. After all, just introducing a new product will not get them publicity. Even selling a huge number of them might not get printed up. But running out of a specialty product because it’s so popular and then having to give discount coupons… sure enough, that got McDonald’s into the press. That got people’s attention, and has probably generated a lot more sales.

But how can McD’s get more profit by turning away customers? Probably because those customers don’t turn away–they wind up getting something else on the menu. The coupon means they are more likely to return as a repeat customer, and will have the feeling that McDonald’s was generous and that they “won” something.

In the meantime, the franchise gets free press equivalent to free advertising, and their MegaFat specialty item gets the aura of being so popular that only lucky customers get one–kind of like the fast-food equivalent of Louis Vuitton handbags or something.

In the end, they get more money and your arteries get harder. So everybody wins!

Categories: Focus on Japan 2007, Health Issues Tags: by
  1. K. Engels
    February 4th, 2007 at 01:13 | #1

    But how can McD’s get more profit by turning away customers? Probably because those customers don’t turn away–they wind up getting something else on the menu.

    The McDonalds at the University I went to for Grad school tried something like this. The entire dollar menu was not ‘in stock’. We could order single cheeseburgers but not the dollar menu double cheeseburger. We could get a six piece nugget, but not the 4 piece dollar menu nuggets. Almost everyone would just buy something else instead and since almost everyone replaced a double cheeseburger order with 2 single cheeseburgers, McDonalds made a few more cents at least.

  2. Jeff Stewart
    February 4th, 2007 at 11:04 | #2

    Good point about the coupon…it is great marketing for return business, but I doubt the shortage was faked initially.

    Suppose the mega mac is selling twice or three times as well as the big mac right now…not unlikely given the ratio of mega macs I saw being sold when I went there the other day. thats double or triple the number of burgers using that size patty that they would normally sell.

    Then consider that said burgers use twice as many patties as a regular big mac- thats’s a fourfold – sixfold increase in that patty size. Fuzzy math, I know…but somewhere in that ball park. Of course, they can order more meat once they know what the demand is, but it probably came as a surprise at first.

    I think it’s a gimmick that’ll die down eventually. Everyone wants to try it -once. But how long can it sustain itself? It’s like those enormous bowls of ramen you see on TV when they feature the specialty of some out-of-the-way restaurant. People love the novelty value for a while, and having something like that at a national chain lets everyone in the country get in on the fad. but it can’t last.

    blogged about this myself the other day…it’s actually the same thing as the double big mac thats been on sale in Canada… jeff-fukuoka.blogspot.com

Comments are closed.