If the phrases, “Tiny Rick” or “Get Schwifty!” sound familiar to you, then you are among the thousands who regularly enjoy the dark show, “Rick and Morty.” This series isn’t just a reminder that you’ve got a twisted sense of humor, but is proof that we may not have seen the end of product placement.
You probably noticed when marketing companies invaded your favorite television show, as a can of pop with the label pointed directly to the camera was highlighted. It was unnatural and a failure at making brands a part of storylines. But there has also been a predicted return of products to our screens in the future — the future is now.
“Rick and Morty” Spark a Movement
For anyone who isn’t familiar, “Rick and Morty” is an animated series that is loosely based on “Back to the Future.” This grandfather and grandson pair travel through space and time, taking part in failed adventures and all but ruining their own dimension.
It wasn’t an advertising agency that came up with the McDonald’s storyline. During the season three premier, Rick uses the deliciousness of the dipping sauce to distract aliens and get out of intergalactic prison. In the end, he mentions his overarching goal has been to get his hands on McDonald’s Szechaun dipping sauce, “…even if it takes nine seasons, Morty!”
McDonald’s Jumps Aboard
McDonald’s dug deep to get Justin Roiland, the show’s creator, a half-gallon of Szechaun dipping sauce. Before the second episode of the season premiered, Roiland shared his bounty—earning over 141,000 retweets and 337,000 likes. McDonald’s also tweeted out that they have three more containers to award their biggest fans.
The fast food giant played into the delicious social media karma, basking in the glory that is promotional marketing. This 19-year-old condiment had note plastered on it playing into the theme with a, “…Who knows where space or time will take us because when our customers speak, we listen.”
Though it’s not your traditional product placement, brands are constantly watching out for anytime they’re mentioned in popular shows. Niche followings are boosted (think “Stranger Things” and the Eggo boom), and these brands feel the surge that even the best advertising agency can’t just create organically.
To Justin Roiland we say, keep pushing your personal agenda with the success of “Rick and Morty”—we’re loving it. To all the marketing companies, we urge you to study the way nostalgia, products and social media have tied together to bring McDonald’s back to the top once more.
Great Scott, get schwifty and game on to anyone else going after the rest of the Szechaun sauce.