McDonald's Monopoly returns; consumers are stoked
The fast-food giant's annual event is a marketer's dream, thanks to customers who can't wait to stop in and play.
Combine two great American icons -- the venerable Monopoly board game from Hasbro (HAS) and Mickey D's -- and you get an annual marketing campaign that seems to grow in success and consumer interest each year.
McDonald's (MCD) Monopoly sweepstakes returned this week in its 21st edition, offering customers at the fast-food chain a chance to win both instant prizes like a free sandwich or drink, or more valuable items like vacation packages, a car, and cash awards of up to $1 million.
Customers' "favorite promotion, Monopoly at McDonald's, is still going strong," Douglas Freeland, McDonald's USA marketing director, said in a press statement.
The game appears to bring out a very nerdy, competitive streak in a lot of people. Walter Hickey at Business Insider has broken down the mathematical probabilities of actually winning in the McDonald's Monopoly game. As the company notes, there's a 1-in-4 chance of winning something each time you play.
But Hickey parsed the numbers even further and determined there's an 89.9% probability your prize will be food-related. What's more, he said, four out of every 11 prizes awarded will be a serving of medium fries.
He also broke down the odds of your acquiring the more valuable game pieces like Boardwalk, which come in at 1 in 602 million. Compare that with your chance of winning the Powerball lottery grand prize, which according to UPI has odds of 1 in 750 million.
And, of course, just as you'd expect from the Internet, several websites are devoted to the game. At the Bargaineering personal finance blog, Jim Wang has a very detailed guide on how to increase your chances of winning this year's edition. There's also at least one Facebook (FB) page where people can swap Monopoly game pieces.
Wang reported that this year's promotion started two months earlier that it has in recent years. "I don't know why they started the game so early," he wrote, "but it likely messed up preparations for so many Monopoly fans."
Creating a consumer passion for a product is something most marketers dream about. And years of successful promotional efforts have paid off big-time for McDonald's as an army of customers daydream about hitting the jackpot while wolfing down food at the Golden Arches.
"For the next few weeks, I'll function under a foggy haze that blinds me to the digestive guidelines for Big Mac consumption," reporter Sonya Sorich writes at the Columbus, Ga., Ledger-Enquirer. "I will lose sleep while pondering what portion of my $1 million should go toward my dog. All for a few good game pieces."
Had a friend won $250K on the McDonalds Monopoly Game, he used the money to buy his mother a home and then bought himself a new car.
This used to be a real boon to the newspapers, with all the people taking out classified ads looking to complete a color group - hey, everybody's looking for those same pieces! Now, it's probably on Craigslist.
The real winners are the cardiologists.
McD's was caught rigging the Monopoly game and they got into trouble. Now, they are just smarter about how they do it.
If they have the audacity to do it once....well, you as a consumer, have been warned!
McDonalds should offer a combo meal with a small fry and small drink instead of ridiculous board game prizes, and they should be using a ghetto version of monopoly to match their advertising.
There are some McD's menu items that call me....and you simply cannot beat their iced tea!
Have won loads in the previous Monopoly games. Sign me up!
PS> gus Hurst (below) - I've never seen any 'weird' food there before! :O
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