The hipster Hamburglar was given one job: sell McDonald's (MCD) new sirloin burgers. But true to character, the Hamburglar bungled the job again.
McDonald's reimagined the bumbling thief from the 1970s commercials as a hipster dad living in suburbia as a way to rev up interest in a new line of premium sirloin burgers. In the original ads, he was a short, cartoonish, red-haired thief who tried to snatch burgers from Ronald McDonald, but always failed. This time around, he also floundered in his new mission: to get Americans interested in McDonald's $5 sirloin burgers.
"Our sirloin burger didn't meet our expectations," McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb told Bloomberg News. "However, this sandwich represents action steps the U.S. has taken to enhance food-quality perceptions. Seventy-six percent of customers who tried the sirloin burger said their opinion of McDonald's beef improved."
The limited-time sirloin burgers are now being phased out of restaurants, Bloomberg noted. McDonald's didn't immediately return a request for comment.
To be fair, the sirloin burgers' fizzle can't be placed on the Hamburglar's striped shoulders alone. The burgers failed to excite diners, with food reviewers giving the burgers mixed marks. None of the three food reviewers on a panel for the Chicago Tribune said they'd pick the burger over other iconic McDonald's dishes, such as the Big Mac.
McDonald's is in the midst of a turnaround effort to improve customers' view of its food after struggling with declining sales. Bringing back the Hamburglar was likely designed to remind Americans of a time when the chain was thriving and many families viewed a visit to McDonald's as a treat. Yet many consumers had a mixed view of the new Hamburglar, with some calling him "creepy" and others viewing him as "hot."
While McComb noted that people who tried the sirloin burgers had a more positive impression of the company, McDonald's is still battling significant headwinds. Same-store U.S. sales slipped 2 percent in the second quarter, the company said last month. It said "featured products and promotions did not achieve expected consumer response."