Campaign: "The Sauce"

On October 7th, 2017, McDonald's tried to capitalize on a golden PR moment by releasing their coveted Szechuan Sauce back into the world. Unfortunately, the stunt didn't go as planned and ended with fans rioting in the streets across the country.

Wanting desperately to make amends, McDonald’s promised the return of Szechuan Sauce in early 2018, and this time, they were determined to get it right.

As the big day approached, McDonald’s realized it also had a unique opportunity to answer the question so many consumers had asked: How did the world’s largest fast food chain let this all happen? Introducing “The Sauce”…

Partnering with McDonald’s, Golin Harris, Studio@Gizmodo and Onion Labs sought to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth by creating a long-form 3-part podcast called “The Sauce.” In the true crime style of Serial and American Vandal, the host interviewed crew, guests and McDonald’s marketing employees to get to the bottom of the mystery in a fun and honest way.

The fact that McDonald’s would take the time to produce a real, true crime podcast is the joke. It allowed them to be self-deprecating, while actually explaining the complexities of a giveaway on the scale of McDonald’s. It would give McDonald’s an authentic way to move beyond the last giveaway and announce when the Szechuan Sauce was going to come back and how they are doing their best to do it right this time.