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The Big Mac is a hamburger sold nternationally ny McDonald's. Over the course of time since it was first introduced, its popularity has made this now iconic sandwich the restaurant chain's flagship menu item. Developed by Pittsburgh, PA area McDonald's franchisee Jim Delligatti as a specialty sandwich for one of his restaurants in Uniontwon, PA, in 1967, and then later added to the McDonald's restaurant menu by McDonald's Corp. CEO Ray Kroc in 1968, the sandwich is one of the company's signature products, along with the Quarter Pounder.

Product description

The Big Mac is the hamburger consisting of two 1.6 oz (45.4 g) beef patties, Iceberg lettuce, American cheese, pickles, chopped onions and special "Mac" sauce (a Thousand Island dressing variant) served on a three part sesame seed bun.

Variants

  • The Mega Mac or Double Big Mac - four 1.7 oz (47.5 g) beef patties and an extra slice of cheese. Available in China, Ireland, Serbia, Japan, Turkey, Malaysia and Thailand (Double Big Mac). Discontinued in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, limited availability in the United States and Canada (where it is commonly marketed under the name Double Big Mac).
  • Monster Mac - eight 1.6 oz (45.4 g) beef patties and extra cheese. Discontinued in Germany.
  • The Mckinley-Mac - made with two quarter pound patties. Named after Mount McKinley in Alaska, and sold only in that state. Also known as the Bigger Big Mac as an LTO product to celebrate the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
  • In India, where Hindus do not eat beef, the Big Mac was renamed the Maharaja Mac and was originally made with lamb instead of beef; however, along with the company's other items it is now made from chicken.
  • Son of Mac - Also known as the Mini Mac or Baby Mac, a version with only one patty and no center roll piece. It sold as a Baby Mac in New Zealand, Was sold in Australia, now discontinued. Served by some stores in the United States under the moniker "Mac Jr".
  • In Israel, where religious Jews do not mix dairy and meat products, a special Kosher version of the Big Mac is served without cheese.
  • In Japan, there was a variant with egg, called the Mega Tamago, as well as a variant with tomato (called the Mega Tomato). Both versions dropped one patty and replaced it with the respective ingredient. Now discontinued.

Special sauce

The name comes from a 1975 advertising campaign featuring a list of the Big Mac's ingredients: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." The precise recipe for what McDonald's itself now calls Big Mac Sauce remains a secret, but it is recognized as a variant of Thousand Island dressing.

Big Mac Sauce is delivered to McDonald's restaurants in sealed canisters designed by Sealright, from which it is meant to be directly dispensed using a special calibrated "sauce gun" that dispenses a specified amount of the sauce for each pull of the trigger. Its design is similar to a caulking gun.

History

The Big Mac was created by Jim Delligatti, one of Ray Kroc's earliest franchisees, who was operating several restaurants in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. It was designed to compete with the similar Big Boy. Customer response to the Big Mac was so good that it rolled-out nationally in 1968. One of its most distinctive feature is a middle slice of bread ("club" layer) used to stabilize contents and prevent spillage.

Advertising

The earliest instances of McDonalds utilizing advertising for the sandwich were mainly print ads, and a TV ad where Hoyt Axton sings "The Ballad Of Big Mac" which aired in 1969.

Two all beef patties slogan

The Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. concept for the jingle was created by Charles Rosenberg, Creative Supervisor of the Dan Nichols team at Needham, Harper and Steers, Chicago. Originally, the ingredients appeared as a one-word heading for a McDonald's ad developed for college newspapers. The words were then set to music created by Mark Vieha, who performed the original jingle. Charlie's advertising concept was to purposely turn the ingredients into a tongue twister. The jingle first appeared in a TV commercial titled "In a Word" developed by Dan and the advertising agency team. The first run of commercials ran only a year and a half, going off the air in 1976, but its popularity remained beyond its TV life.

Many franchisees in the United States ran promotions during the original campaign that awarded a free burger to customers who could recite the slogan within a specified time (usually two or three seconds). One example of its success, was that the McDonald's operators in New York City actually ran out of Big Mac buns. McDonald's Australia emulated this promotion in the mid-1980s, and some Brazilian McDonald's around the same time (only offering a free glass of Coca-Cola instead), in the Portuguese version, which goes as "Dois hambúrgueres, alface, queijo, molho especial, cebola e picles num pão com gergelim".

In 2003, McDonald's revived the phrase. In an English-language ad from McDonald's international "i'm lovin' it" campaign, a rapper rapidly spouts off the trademark in the background music. Also in 2003, American Greetings and Carlton Cards released a Christmas ornament of a Big Mac, on which the slogan was both printed and played aloud by pulling on a string. Roy Bergold, National Advertising Manager at McDonald's, has a big hand in championing the original campaign and helping to bring it back.

In 2008, once again, the phrase was revived by McDonald's Malaysia. The revival includes the original prize of a free Big Mac if the customer is able to recite the phrase in under four seconds. This was released in May, along with the promotional Mega Mac, which has four beef patties rather than the original two.

McDonaldland character

Main article: McDonaldland

In addition to the McDonald's signature hamburger, Officer Big Mac was the name of a character in McDonaldland, the fictional world created as an advertising campaign for McDonald's. Big Mac was similar to Mayor McCheese, except he was the chief of police, wearing a constable uniform and sporting a large Big Mac for a head.

Trivia

Popular understanding of the origins of the Big Mac credits the inspiration for the idea to the Bob's Big Boy coffee-shop chain, which offered a very similar signature double-deck burger.

See also:

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