Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free (with purchase): McD's giving away McSkillet burritos this week

Your neighborhood McDonald's is treating you to a somewhat free breakfast this week, as AdAge.com reports:

The chain...will give away more than 2 million McSkillet burritos the morning of Feb. 28 and 29 as part of a national sampling event. On those days, McDonalds's customers will be offered a free burrito with the purchase of a medium or large drink. The McSkillet, composed of scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage, salsa, onions, peppers and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla, retails for about $2.49.
Why would McDonald's invite you to do your best Hamburglar impression, with no threat of being billy-clubbed by a cop with a Quarter Pounder for a head? It's called sampling, and it's usually a good idea:
"Sampling is critical to any marketplace," said McDonald's spokeswoman Shanelle Armstrong..."Ultimately we want to get our product in our customer's hands...
I'm a pretty big fan of getting new customers into your store any way you can. After all, sometimes simple unfamiliarity--not knowing where you're located, or not knowing what to expect once they get there--can be a formidable barrier preventing them from giving you a shot. And this isn't the first time McDonald's has offered a free sample of one of its products. Still, this strategy seems a little Filet-O-Fishy to me. McDonald's is probably too familiar to most of us and the McSkillet burrito has been around long enough to give McDonald's execs a taste of whether or not it will be a success. My guess is that this is the McSkillet's last chance to show off its McSkills.

Cheesy marketing-speak like this, from one such McDonald's exec, makes me even more skeptical:
"Mornings can be a busy time for many consumers and we're thrilled to be able to provide a great start to their mornings with a free McSkillet Burrito," Neil Golden, chief marketing officer of McDonald's U.S., said in a statement. "We encourage customers everywhere to stop by their local McDonald's restaurant for a delicious way to kick-off the Leap Year."
Ugh. This is why the world hates marketing people.

In any case, Golden's arch language isn't the only thing that will keep me away from the McSkillet Madness. As much as I like free stuff, I just know that the queue is going to be longer than the last half of a bad Morgan Spurlock documentary. I'll just have to find another "delicious way to kick off the Leap Year." Maybe I'll try one of these.

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