Each fall season begins with the changing of the weather, the introduction of the latest wool fashions and for those of us who are fast food junkies, McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Each year the international food company partners with different brands and offers prizes based on monopoly games pieces. This year the prizes range from spa packages, to cars to cash prizes. My friends and I are huge fans and collect the pieces every year. Often times throughout the run of the game, we gather and compare pieces, attempting to cash in on one of the cash prizes, seeing as how we are poor college students.
Recently, as my roommate and I sat in our living room, completely stuffed from the McDonald’s meal we had just devoured, I thought, the companies that partner with McDonald’s are gaining so much advertising from this contest. On every single bag and cup McDonald’s distributes throughout the duration of the game, is a picture of the products up for grabs. This left me wondering… Does McDonald’s reach out to these brands or do the brands seek McDonald’s for endorsement? This is definitely a decision I assume the company would engage the Public Relations department. From an ethical view, the involvement of other brands in this contest could yield both brands, credibility as well as a boost in profits. The magnitude of the advertising campaign embarked upon during this contest is almost as heavy as Super bowl ads (… well at least to food lovers.)
Many individuals have claimed that the game is rigged, that the winning combination of pieces is distributed in different sections of the country, making it virtually impossible to collect all the pieces needed to win the grand prize of 1 million dollars. From a public relations standpoint, this theory however can not be true. A company as large and as integrated into American society would not dream of “jipping” its customers… would they? McDonald’s sets the standard for fast food in this country and others around the world.
This season, I have been playing pretty consistently (It helps that I have been so busy that I can only eat on the go, no time to cook!) So far I have collected the pieces for several different prizes. I am actually one piece away from the 50,000, 200, Spa package, Nissan Versa AND the 1 million grand prize. It should also be mentioned that today was the first day that I won a prize instantly. McDonalds advertises the game by claiming that 1 in 4 tickets is a winner. I have been playing for weeks, as previously stated, and only today did I actually win something. This is false advertisement! Unless there is something stated in the fine print that negates their claim. The idea that I am one away from winning so many prizes, but yet I have won nothing, except my free small Frappe, really strengthens the viewpoint of many that this is all a scam.
Because McDonald’s is such an important brand in our economy and cultural system, the idea that they would cheat their customers is appalling. I hope I win something else soon or else this faithful customer might not return to the boardwalk next year.