Courtesy of McDonald's

It would be your smartest marketing move ever

Mike Pomranz
August 15, 2018

Americans are obsessed with durians. The Asian fruit that, despite having a smell described as “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock,” is a delicacy. Yes, it sounds gross, but McDonald’s, if you’re looking for the biggest marketing coup of all-time (bigger than Monopoly), you should bring your Malaysian McDonald’s durian items to America.

Durians are notorious in Southeast Asia. Their smell has gotten them banned from subway systems, and once caused the evacuation of an entire college library. But that notoriety, coupled with the fact that most Americans have never tried the fruit, means that many people in the United States are infatuated with the very idea of a durian. Most people couldn’t tell you a single menu item at McDonald’s in Malaysia (I assume they serve fries, but I’m not positive), but the recently release of a D24 Durian Sundae (the D24 is a type of durian), a D24 Durian McFlurry, and a D24 Durian Hotcake was deemed newsworthy in the U.S.

We’ve seen this before with things like Pizza Hut selling a durian pizza or news of a possible durian Kit Kat. Americans are so fascinated with durians, they even want to hear about the durian foods they can’t have.

Sure, given the chance to try these things, most Americans would probably be a bit letdown: Look no further than a story in May that a recent durian beer was billed as being not durian-y enough. But that’s beside the point, McDonald’s. Most people in the States have no idea how “durian-y” anything should be because no major American chain has ever brought a durian menu item to the U.S. You could be the first!

Just think of the publicity. Think of the sales! If McDonald’s brought a Durian McFlurry stateside, it would be covered by literally every news outlet in the country—if not the world. Not only would plenty of Americans would feel the need to try it, but even if they didn’t, that could be an angle. Are you willing to take the McDonald’s McDurian challenge? These McFlurries would sell themselves!

McDonald’s, I know you don’t take a ton of risks, but this isn’t even a risk: It’s a cultural experience, and you, the largest food chain in the world, could be at the forefront of a revolution. Yes, durian is an acquired taste—and one most Americans haven’t acquired—but the decision to bring durian menu items to the States would be about more than just an amazing publicity stunt: It would be about bring the globe together… with the smell of stinky socks.

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