McDonald's Marketing, A Word Please

So, once again the Monopoly game is upon us. This in no cause for vexation for me; in fact, I quite enjoy the Monopoly game that McDonald’s offers, and when it is offered I tend to gravitate towards McDonald’s for lunch. “Gravitate” being an especially appropriate word given what two cheesburgers and a McFlurry does to my wasteline.

This year, however, you have added a twist- the “Pick Your Prize!” aspect. This, in and of itself, is not my bone to pick; in fact, it seems a stroke of marketing genius. You offer no more prizes than before, but by allowing winners to choose from one of three prizes in each category, you can capture more people’s imaginations. Rather than a simple ‘vacation get-away’ for gathering the Orange stickers, one may now choose between Cancun, the Bahamas, or Aspen for a trip. Green tokens allow for winning a car- but rather than a single offering which may or may not appeal to a person, now one may choose between a Sequoia, Spyder, or a Tundra. Even the Deep Blue tokens- which have, for as long I can remember, given away a million dollars- now offers the options of cash, gold, or diamonds. While the cash option is the most sensible, there is something about having a Brink’s truck arrive carrying one’s annual receipt of a gold bowling ball that flutters the imagination. A very good show, McDonald’s marketeers.


Except for the Purple tokens. The low-end prize, the smallest prize available through token collection. This year, you offer $20. Not bad, but you decided to extend the idea of the “Choose Your Prize!” option to this, as well. And thus, one can have ones’ $20 in one of three forms:

A $20 bill.
Two $10 bills.
Four $5 bills.

Folks, this is just downright pathetic. Did you even think about how silly that looks? On the higher end prizes, you offer dreams and fantasies fulfilled. On this $20 prize, you offer change-making ability. Did you even think about finding other alternatives? How about Gift Certificates? Free music CDs? If one has to keep to cash, why not throw in 20 Sacajaweas? Two rolls of quarters and directions to the local arcade? Deustchmarks? Yen?

And if you must keep to giving out $20 in American money (easy to simply take from the till, I suppose), why even keep up the pretext of a choice? Why pretend that the difference between a $20 and four $5s is akin to the difference between $10,000 in Home Improvements and $10,000 in Summer Sporting Goods?

Good grief.

Well, what do you expect? The overall game is pure Boardwalk, but the lame cheap prize is pure Baltic Avenue…

That reminds me of the Saturday Night Live commercial for the bank that just makes change.

“We can give you change that you never even thought of. Say you come to us with a hundred dollar bill. We can give you five twenties. We can give you a fifty, a ten, and two twenties. We’re not going to give you two thousand nickels. Unless that meets your particular change needs.”

“We will give you change…equal to the amount of money you need change for.”

hee hee

Don’t be so grumpy, John. You know that we love to see you smile[sup]TM[/sup].

Thank you, Monster - that’s one of the few SNL commercials I actually thought was clever. Best line? The last one: “People ask how we make any money. The answer? Volume.”

Hee hee, indeed. :smiley:

I dunno, as irritating as that is, nothing McDonald’s (or any other fast food chain, for that matter) can POSSIBLY do could be worse than those STUPID commercials for Taco Bell’s new steak concotion.

Now, I never watched Bonanza, so I have no idea what the quality of that show was, but surely they don’t deserve this use of their theme song…


I’m insulted that they don’t allow me to get my $20 in singles with directions to the closest strip club. :smiley:

I wonder if I can get McDonald’s to give me two tens for a five.

You probably could, if you catch the right cashier…we’ve had some pretty dumb ones before :slight_smile:

Isn’t there some sort of olde tyme scam /Abbot & Costello routine like that?

Con: Excuse me, do you have change for a 20?
Mark: Yes, how would you like it?
Con: I need two 5s, five 1s and one 10.
Mark: <counts out bills>
Con: Y’know. I think I’d rather have another five 1s. Here’s your 5 back
Mark: <counts out 1 dollar bills>
<repeat several times>
Con: I’m sorry, after all that, I’d rather have the 20.
<walks off with the $20.00 and all the change>


mmm…two cheeseburgers and a Flurry. (or in my house we call them Fluffies.)

Don’t suppose they’re making burgers at 9 am though.


Morecombe and Wise did a similar thing too.

but i forget the details. :slight_smile:

I had a cousin (working at the same fast food joint I was) taken by that scam. This is the first time someone has explained it so that I could understand how someone could fall for it.

I avoid Micky-D’s on principle, but my mom collects the game pieces, and has even won a small amount of money. The ‘pick your prize’ bit with the smaller cash prizes is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of in a promotional give-away.

Well, with their other ad campain, the whole “a whole new way to order” thing, what do you expect? They try to pass off a 69, 79, 99 cent menu as a new concept, when actually it is just good old fashion ordering, for people who can’t pick a number. I laugh everytime the commercials come on, they seem to imply most Americans aren’t smart enough to figure out a menu. Granted, some Americans aren’t, but i am, so i resent that hockeypuck.

Color me still confused. I understand the first part–by getting 2 fives, 5 ones, and 1 ten, you get 25 dollars change for the original twenty.

Here’s what I don’t understand:

Con: Y’know. I think I’d rather have another five 1s. Here’s your 5 back
Mark: <counts out 1 dollar bills>
<repeat several times>

How is this a con? You’re giving him a five for five ones. And how can you repeat several times, as you only have two fives?

*Originally posted by Opus1 *


Here’s what I don’t understand:

But since you keep telling the person who is changing your money “Here is your 5 back” they forget that they originally already changed your 20 if you do it enough times.

It’s the art of persuasion that cons them.

*Originally posted by Opus1 *

Color me still confused. I understand the first part–by getting 2 fives, 5 ones, and 1 ten, you get 25 dollars change for the original twenty.

Here’s what I don’t understand:

I didn’t phrase it very well.

The gimmick is that you keep changing your mind and swapping various denominations, until the mark is just handing you stuff back and forth without really thinking about it. You don’t cheat at this point, so you DO hand the 5 dollar bill back when he gives you five 1s. But then you trade the five 1s and 1 five for a 10, and then request ten 1s, etc.

The last bit is where you ask him for the original 20 back. You don’t hand the mark the change though. In theory (if it’s done well) the mark is A)bored and B)somewhat confused, giving you time to make off with $40 bucks ( one 20 dollar bill and a bunch of smaller bills totalling twenty dollars) before the mark realises what’s happened.

Apparently this is an authentic con.


Indeed it is. I got taken by this on my very first job. I was a young naive kid about 16 and I had only been working for about a month or two. The guy made off with sixty dollars.


Yep, it’s a con. I used to work for a place that, if you made any change for the customer, you had to put all the money into the drawer and reopen it each time. So, hopefully, each time he gave you a five, you’d put the five in the drawer, give him five singles and close it. Then if he wanted his ten changed, you’d open the drawer, take the ten and put it in the drawer, take out 2 fives, close the drawer… etc etc The idea being that you were never holding enough money to be confused by.

There’s an excellent version of the $20 fast-change con in the book “Paper Moon” (I think it was originally entitled “Addy Pray”) that is so complex, you have to sit down with the bills in question and play it through slowly before you catch on how it’s a scam. Heck, I’ll bet if someone pulled it on me at work I probably wouldn’t notice, depending on whether or not I’d had my double espresso drink for the day.

My question is, what kind of insidious blackmail does McD’s have on Parker Bros. to keep molesting the Monopoly copyright year after year?