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The occasionally-updated blog of M. Scott Smith

From the Less Mature Files: McDonald's Launches Arch Deluxe 🔗

As an undergraduate at Drexel University in the mid-90's, I served as a columnist, contributing weekly bits of satire in an effort to amuse others or at least myself. I'm dusting off some of those columns and reprinting them here, in raw, unedited form.

At the time I wrote the following column, McDonald's had just spent millions of dollars launching the new Arch Deluxe sandwich.

The Arch Deluxe was McDonald's attempt to attract adults back to its golden-arched restaurants. The fast food company had always been popular with kids, and extensive research showed that adults weren't picking McDonald's as their first dining choice unless they were bringing their kids along. (Or rather, unless their kids whined in unison that they wanted to eat at McDonald's.)

Thus, McDonald's launched a new advertising campaign -- billing the Arch Deluxe as a "grown up" sandwich that was only suitable for adults. It was a sophisticated sandwich, for a sophisticated and mature clientelle, the ads implied.

What was the Arch Deluxe? It was a hamburger. Oh, but wait -- it had a slice of tomato and lettuce. And a special brown sauce. The Top Secret Recipes web site shines light on the ingredients that made up that special sauce: 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise combined with half a teaspoon of brown mustard.

Sounds pretty sophisticated to me.

Of course, I had my own theory for the makeup of the special sauce, and thought the whole campaign was rather silly, so I put pen to paper (well, no -- fingers to keyboard) and decided to poke some fun at McDonald's.

My faux news article went a little further and suggested other ways McDonald's could attract a more adult clientelle.

'Course, as usual, some readers thought it was a real news article, and took offense (or delight) in the rumor that McDonald's would soon start serving alcohol.

Ever wonder how successful the Arch Deluxe was? Well, you can't buy it anymore, can you? File it in McDonald's cabinet of "bad ideas," which includes some other duds such as the McLean Deluxe.

Continue reading to view my interpretation of the Arch Deluxe product launch...




Last Thursday, the McDonald's Corporation chose New York City to unveil its new Arch Deluxe sandwich in the company's largest and most expensive product launch ever.

Eyewitnesses report that the sandwich catapulted through the air for more than half a mile before striking the Statue of Liberty in the head, causing minor damage and wounding several vacationing tourists. The National Park Service reports that the Statue will be closed for approximately two weeks while repairs are made.

McDonald's has had undeniable success attracting children to its stores, due in large part to powerful electromagnets and addictive chemical substances McDonald's places in Happy Meals.

Unfortunately, these substances do not have the same effect on adults, unless used in dangerously high quantities that result in cardiac arrest. So McDonald's engineers spent several years trying to develop an addictive chemical additive to remedy this shortcoming.

The true breakthrough came when a McDonald's employee found several thousand tubs of mayonnaise that had been sitting undisturbed in a warehouse for dozens of years.

"Somehow, this mayonnaise seeped through the cracks of our extensive inventory control system," said the employee. "Initially we were just going to throw the mayonnaise away, but we realized that, despite being well beyond its expiration date, it could have medicinal value or at least liven up some office parties."

The mayonnaise is now being used as a special sauce in the Arch Deluxe sandwich. Customers report that it has a tangy, somewhat dijon mustard-like taste to it and can be used to repair broken china.

When asked whether the spoiled mayonnaise was safe to eat, a product manager paused, and then said "certainly. However, we do warn our customers not to eat more than two Arch Deluxe sandwiches a day, and to make sure that they are up to date with their tetanus shots."

Other features of the new Arch Deluxe sandwich include a leaf of lettuce and half a slice of tomato.

"We feel we are setting an example for the rest of the [fast food] industry with the innovative use of lettuce and tomatoes on a hamburger ... we feel we will be seen as real trendsetters in that respect," said the product manager.

McDonald's will also be revamping its beverage menu in an attempt to appeal to the adult market. Sources report that the menu will include several alcoholic beverages, including bourbon, whiskey, and several types of domestic and imported beer.

"Now, parents can bring their family to McDonald's and kick back a few shots of tequila," said a public relations official from McDonald's corporate headquarters.

"Parents have complained to us that the noise level at McDonald's is excessive, with so many kids screaming and shouting about the Lion King and jumping up and down on tables and flinging ketchup and each other into the air. Our research shows that after a few shots of whiskey, parents begin to care less about the noise and even begin to enjoy the surreal environment," she explained.

"Of course," she adds with a chuckle, "we won't be serving alcoholic beverages in our drive-throughs, since that could obviously lead to nasty car upholstery stains."

McDonald's is also examining the feasibility of extending the closing time of most of its restaurants, installing disco lighting, and offering lap dancing for the pleasure of dine-in customers.

"For years we've been eying the lucrative nightclub and bar market," said one research director. "We feel we can compete well in this market - after all, Ronald McDonald can boogie with the best of them."

M. Scott Smith is a senior majoring in computer science. When he tried the Arch Deluxe sandwich, he got a big McStomachAche.


- By M. Scott Smith, 1996. All rights reserved.

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