In 1996, McDonald’s created the Arch Deluxe, a hamburger intended to appeal to grown-up tastes. It was basically a Quarter Pounder with cheese on a different kind of bun, with peppered bacon and a top-secret mustard and mayonnaise sauce. It was intended to be the leadoff product in a long line of adult-themed menu items, and the company spent $100 million on the ad campaign.
It stiffed. The price was markedly higher than the other items on the McDonald’s menu, and the very expensive ad campaign featured unhappy children claiming that they didn’t like the burger, a bizarre way to promote a product if there ever was one. It was an enormous disappointment for a product that company officials had originally expected to be good for $1 billion in sales in its first year alone.