Marketing Mercury in Retrograde

The Lempert Report
May 17, 2022

On today’s Bullseye we talk a bit more about astrology – but with a shift to what’s going on in the retail space. This is not about your sign. It’s about Mercury Retrograde. Mercury retrograde is an optical illusion which means it looks as if the planet is moving backwards from our view here on earth. Astrologers believe that during this perceived backwards motion, technology and communication could get disrupted, putting a damper on anyone's mood. What does this have to do with retail? Well, McDonald’s and Del Taco are just two of the brands that seem to think that marketing for or against Mercury Retrograde can be big business.

To “celebrate,” McDonald’s offered  a McChicken or McDouble with the purchase of a medium fries exclusively in the McDonald’s App on May 10 and 11, the second retrograde one in 2022 takes place May 10 thru June 3. McDonald’s is partnering with TikTok tarot reader Madam Adam for a “McDonald’s-inspired tarot reading,” Madam Adam, who is a guy by the way, has 1.5 million followers on TikTok and calls himself TikTok’s Tough Love Tarot Reader and self-care enthusiast. On his website you can book a tarot reading for $50 – for a business it’ll cost $350. What’s very odd about this partnership with McDonald’s is that his TikTok readings are not family friendly at all – in fact just about every other sentence is an F-bomb in the few episodes I watched. Hardly, in my opinion, the image that McDonald’s has tried so hard to nurture and build since it started in 1955. What were they thinking? Or is it their new strategy to attract a new audience? I’m not sure that’s going to work – but I am sure that it is going to turn off a lot of parents who buy hose 1 BILLION Happy Meals every year.

Back to Mercury Retrograde – Del Taco has been running a Mercury retrograde special since January, the first 2022 retrograde ran from January 14-February 3rd, and will be running a different and new one for each retrograde cycle. For this one – mid May to early June the special is a free chicken cheddar roller with any $3 purchase on its app. Perhaps both chains need to refocus their marketing and dollars towards the quality, taste and healthfulness of their foods.