Why Is The McRib Only Available At Certain Times? McDonald’s Ad Agency Exec Spills On Limited Edition Sandwich

McRib fans around the country eagerly track their sandwich of choice as it intermittently shows up at McDonald’s locations once a year, but many people wish the menu item would be available year round.

As it turns out, McRib scarcity is (although clearly manufactured by McDonald’s) due to the fact that the company doesn’t really have a great holiday menu item to bring customers in, although we think an argument can be made for the eggnog shake.

Business Insider spoke to Peter McGuinness, CEO of DDB Chicago, the ad agency that handled McRib promotions last year.

Of the McRib’s seemingly random arrival each year, McGuinness says that the chain needs to keep the McRib as a kind of wild card to play from time to time because — despite the sandwich’s cult following — it’s actually not a huge seller across the board.

In essence, McRib fans love the sandwich, but they don’t keep coming back for it year-round. McGuinness explained the strategy to the site, which in turn said:

“Instead, the McRib functions as ‘a great piece of buzzy news that surprises and delights, late in the year on the marketing calendar’ … Of course, news is only news if it’s new, and for the McRib to be ‘new’ it must disappear again for the rest of the year once its Q4 revenue marketing duties are done. (A bit like Santa Claus himself.)”

mcrib 2012

Last year, the McRib emerged late in the season, and is expected to show its rib-y face again, as the end of the fiscal year approaches.

Are you waiting for the McRib to appear in 2012?