McDonald’s reengineers the straw for the sake of a milkshake

mcdonald's straw engineering shamrock shake 1

When McDonald’s isn’t making quick and easy to eat food, the company also hires engineers to design straws. “No, seriously.”

The multi-national food giant published a short clip to YouTube this week, highlighting the lengths it took to design a brand new straw for its Shamrock Shake beverage.

The straw, which is a limited edition item, has been designed to better fuse the two elements of the shake — chocolate and mint — to ensure drinkers get the correct flavour profile.

mcdonald's straw engineering shamrock shake

Two engineering firms, namely JACE and NK Labs, took up the challenge, probably because there wasn’t much else to do in the office that day. Nevertheless, the product itself is actually quite a piece of engineering.

The STRAW is an overengineered marketing gimmick that lets McDonald’s patrons better enjoy their Shamrock Shakes

The STRAW (yeah, seriously, an acronym for Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal) curves back on itself, and has a number of strategic holes dotted along its length. The firm claims that its shape and these incisions “provides optimal flavor flow dynamics.”

Let me remind you, this is a milkshake we’re talking about.

“It was a puzzling assignment but one with an ambitious goal,” explains Seth Newburg, the chief engineer and managing partner at NK Labs.

“From a physics perspective, it’s actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavors with each sip. But that’s exactly what we did.”

The video itself is a parody of Jony Ive-narrated product showcases, while also poking fun at itself. But just because it’s self-aware, doesn’t mean it isn’t ridiculous.

Annoyingly, McDonald’s will only make 2000 of these “truly frivolous” marvels available and only in the States, but we can’t help but imagine these will be littering eBay in a few weeks.

Is this a case of good marketing, or a total waste of time? Only time, and milk moustaches will tell.

Andy Walker, former editor


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