As is the case with most April Fools’ Day jokes, not many people were laughing at what McDonald’s Australia thought was a good gag: pretending to add a new item to its menu. As the Mirror reports, instead of ingratiating itself with its fans, McDonald’s only ended up disappointing its customer base with the half-baked prank.
So, what was the “joke”? Last Saturday—April 1, that is—McDonald’s Australia announced a new menu item called the McFry and posted photos of the item to its social media accounts. The McFry appeared to be a cheeseburger with two slices of cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, and, most notably, a generous serving of french fries sandwiched in between the burger patty and condiments.
“The ultimate Mac-hack now comes made to order, as we take the classic Quarter Pounder and stack it with Australia’s fave fries,” wrote Macca’s (as McDonald’s is known in Australia) on its Instagram post for the fictitious burger. “No mess. No fuss. No worries. We’ve made it so you don’t have to! Get your hands on the McFry today. Available until yesterday.”
That last sentence, of course, indicated to consumers that the photo was staged and the menu item was nothing more than a joke. But it was a joke that some fans couldn’t let go of.
“Awww brooo nah for real Maccas y’all needa make this man,” one commenter wrote. “Would buy out every single Maccas in all of Australia for this burger🤤🤤.”
“Not a bad idea,” another added. “I will put my fries 🍟 on my hamburger 🍔 soon.”
The concept of the McFry is certainly simple. In fact, it’s too simple, and that’s why the April Fools’ gag flopped. Stuffing a handful of fries under a burger bun is neither funny enough nor over-the-top ridiculous enough for consumers to clock it as a joke. In fact, putting fries on a burger is something plenty of people do on their own already. Offering this as a pre-bundled menu item just makes sense.
This isn’t the first time that the Golden Arches’ Australian market has teased the public with a fake menu item for April Fools’ Day. Back in 2019, the New York Post reported that Macca’s advertised the McPickle, a sandwich stacked with pickle slices, cheese, condiments, and no meat. (Honestly, I’d love that.)
The difference between the McPickle and the McFry is that one is so ridiculous that it’s obviously a joke, while the other is simply so sensible that you wonder why it hasn’t been tested on McDonald’s menu already. Despite my love of pickles, even I know a sandwich as briny as the McPickle is unlikely to sell at a major fast food restaurant. A better joke for 2023 might have been the Quarter Pounder McFlurry, say, or something otherwise odd enough to elicit a goofy reaction from fans.
It seems like the biggest reason corporate entities want to participate in April Fools’ Day pranks these days is that it has become less of an opportunity for funny stunts and more of a coy R&D opportunity. Take Culver’s Curderburger, which was originally advertised as an April Fools’ joke but became a delicious reality once fans reacted positively to it. It became a big seller, and all Culver’s had to do was tease the public to drum up interest.
Since McDonald’s Australia chose to dangle a menu concept in front of its audience that seems so perfectly plausible, and because the public reacted favorably to it, you can bet that Macca’s might already be toying with the idea of releasing the McFry in the coming months. April Fools’ Day is meant to be all fun and games, but in the fast food landscape, it’s a market testing ground.