Chaotic scenes have unfolded at McDonald’s outlets across America after the fast food chain underestimated the response to a promotion it was running for fans of the TV show Rick and Morty, in which it promised to bring back a limited edition, long out of production Szechuan dipping sauce.
The chain announced it would be selling a limited run of a long out-of-production Szechuan dipping sauce – which is referenced in the third season of Rick and Morty – for fans on Saturday (7 October).
However, the promotion quickly backfired when fans – some of whom had reportedly queued for hours – were told the sauce had ran out.
In some parts of the US, fans encountered stores that had not received the promised sauce and staff who were not aware of the promotion.
Police were called to at least one outlet after people in queues for the sauce began getting angry and chanting “We want sauce”, the Guardian reported.
Cops are at Wellington McDonalds where tons of angry people lined up for hrs for Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce only to learn they had none pic.twitter.com/3T272osid4
— Lulu Ramadan (@luluramadan) October 7, 2017
At a restaurant in Newark, angry customers held up protest signs to demand the sauce they had come for.
McDonald’s, which in its press release for the promotion said that the sauce release would be “really, really limited”, has apologised to fans that missed out.
The fast food firm also handed out 1,000 limited edition posters at select outlets in the US. DDB and We Are Unlimited helped deliver the poster designs.
Packets of the sauce and the limited edition posters are currently listed for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.
The scenes are evocative of Hoover's disastrous free flights promotion in 1992. Hoover underestimated demand for the free flights in exchange for £100 in purchases, found itself embroiled in a lawsuit for failing to deliver on the promises, and after losing almost £50m as a result was forced to sell its British division to the Italian manufacturer Candy.