McCopy Edit: The Fact That McRib Is Back Means …

by Stefanie Flaxman on December 3, 2010

The McRib sandwich: it’s only around once a year, but unlike Santa Claus, it doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice.

McDonald’s welcomes patrons to consume its perfectly crafted pop culture phenomenon while they have the opportunity. The limited availability of the boneless pork sandwich is an event. After all, a product isn’t special if you can get it all the time.

Although McRib has made short-term appearances at select locations in the past few years, it returned to all US McDonald’s restaurants on November 2 for about five weeks.

After I recently enjoyed a McRib, the writing on the side of the paper carton that housed the sandwich caught my attention. White words on the red McRib container state:

YOUR OLD FRIEND IS BACK.
It’s the telltale sign of that tangy barbecue sauce that’s left its mark on your lips.
The fact that the tender boneless pork is smothered in it means there’s no way of getting away with this love affair.

My copy-editor eye doesn’t turn off even for the McRib. I immediately noticed a phrase that I commonly correct: The fact that ___ means ___.

Instead of prefacing a fact by stating that it is one, omit a few words and simply explain. Make your text concise and direct.

For example, the passage could be changed to:

YOUR OLD FRIEND IS BACK.
It’s the telltale sign of that tangy barbecue sauce that’s left its mark on your lips.
Since the tender boneless pork is smothered in it, there’s no chance of getting away with this love affair.

I also substituted the word way for chance, due to its close placement to the word away.

Here’s an edit that addresses the passive is smothered as well:

YOUR OLD FRIEND IS BACK.
The telltale sign of that tangy barbecue sauce has left its mark on your lips.
Tender boneless pork smothered in it eliminates the possibility of denying this love affair.

McRib 2010 is only available until Sunday, December 5. Indulge in the treat at your own risk, but wordsmiths may have fun checking out the accompanying text.

How would you alter the McRib sandwich copy? Share in the comments below.

Stefanie Flaxman is a professional proofreader and the founder of Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services. Connect with Stefanie on Twitter.

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