McDonald's was selling a set of candles that smelled like the collective ingredients of their famous Quarter Pounder hamburger. And they sold out fast.
McDonald's opened their online merchandise store, Golden Arches Unlimited, back in December. A common marketing strategy, the store was meant to be a way for super-fans to wear McDonald's merch like "influencers for their brand." It's actually quite brilliant if executed properly.
"This week GoldenArchesUnlimited.com is dropping an all NEW, limited-time line of fan club swag exclusively for Quarter Pounder enthusiasts."
The fan club store issued cheeky merchandise, at (not-so-dollar-menu) prices, including t-shirts, a necklace, mittens, pins, bumper stickers, and the infamous Quarter Pounder set of six candles in the scents and colors of its ingredients: bun, ketchup, pickle, cheese, onion, 100% fresh beef. The thought was that if a person burns all the candles at once, it would smell like a complete Quarter Pounder. Brilliant.
In the same press release, Superfans were instructed to "Follow @McDonalds on Instagram to see when these one-of-a-kind Quarter Pounder merchandise will become available throughout the week. Quantities are extremely limited so get ready to act fast to get your hands on these must-have items."
While McDonald's did disclose that quantities were extremely limited, no one expected them to be THAT limited.
Imagine the scent of each of these ingredients in a candle (Photos courtesy of McDonald's)
The McDonald's Quarter Pounder candle set sold out in it minutes, it seems—before most fans knew it was available, and even while some were in the process of purchasing.
McDonald's posted "sold out" on Instagram, and to make matters worse, they added, "But don't worry, you can still smell (and taste!) the Quarter Pounder at restaurants near you."
See what I mean? Cheeky! Now, if I'd been waiting for days for something I really wanted, like these loyal fans, I don't think I'd really appreciate that type of flippant response. Is it just me?
Since the big sell-out on Friday, February 21, there have been more than 100,000 views with 442 comments in response to the disappointing news. These are some of the best comments I read posted on McDonald's Instagram.
Comments Courtesy of McDonald's Instagram
We've Got You Covered
Where do you go to find items you can't find anywhere else? Why, eBay, of course. There are multiple listings for this item on eBay starting at $177 all the way up to $400! And people are purchasing them. I am not kidding. This item originally sold on the Quarter Pounder Fan Club website for $35 plus tax with free shipping. I guess the Superfans really wanted these scented candles.
On a serious note, there are several sellers on eBay claiming they have "pre-orders" for purchase; I believe these are scammers. To date, McDonald's has not released any information regarding restocking these items. Other sellers have their receipts posted as proof of their purchase, so if you want to drop a couple of George Washington's, click here to purchase your scented candle set.
While I don't qualify as a Superfan, I do love a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. But the idea of burning these candles in my home? Absolutely not. But would I have bought them? Absolutely. This candle set is the gift that keeps on giving ... meaning I would give it as a fun gift and expect to have it regifted, and regifted, and regifted ...
What do you think about this six-pack of scented candles? Are you willing to pay hundreds of dollars for them? Do you think McDonald's handled this marketing effort correctly? Let us know what you think in the comments.
(And if you're just too disappointed, there is a 2020 wall calendar featuring beautiful colored photos of Quarter Pounders. So, there's that.)