McRib is back … along with unicorns, Viking accountants

The here-again, gone-again McRib is here again nationwide — and this time McDonald’s is playing up the barbecue sandwich’s elusiveness in a social media campaign designed to lure in new fans through Facebook.

It’s a digital game called “The Quest for the Golden McRib” and the idea is to find 10 online golden McRibs hidden in cyberspace all while interacting with colorful characters such as unicorns that love barbecue and Viking accountants. (Viking accountants?)

Apparently, McDonald’s is trying to convince a new generation of youngsters to try the McRib. That’s probably a smart marketing move, because adults seem to have already made up their minds about the sandwich.

Some people love it, and will log on to the McRib locator to find which local McDonald’s restaurants are serving them during the year. Others can’t stand the McRib, put off perhaps by the way the pork is formed to give the illusion that there are bones in the meat.

The McRib will be available in all McDonald’s restaurants until Nov. 14.

When McDonald’s brought back the McRib nationwide last year for a limited time (after 16 years of appearing sporadically, at the discretion of individual franchise owners), the company tried a Twitter campaign that drew criticism for creating a host of negative comments about the sandwich.

“’McRib Is Back’ Promotion Turns Into a Twitter Roast” ran the headline from ClickZ, a website specializing in interactive marketing news. The story suggested that the promotion was actually hurting the brand because there were so many negative comments. (McDonald’s social media director said at the time that the report was incomplete because it was purely anecdotal.)

A check of Twitter early Tuesday afternoon suggests that this year again, the negative views of the sandwich are beating the positive ones, 15 to 10. But maybe that just adds to the sandwich’s mystique. After all, if you’re going to hang out with Viking accountants, you’re not exactly mainstream. 

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