As Big Mac turns 50, McDonald’s will offer a redeemable coin

The iconic burger has its own song, a devoted following and, now, five iterations of a minted coupon for a free sandwich. The retro campaign has created buzz online and off.

To celebrate the Big Mac, McDonald’s went old school.

The fast-food chain minted a commemorative coin, worth one Big Mac at thousands of locations worldwide, and social media users jumped on the trend.

McDonald’s share this video on YouTube to explain:

It also shared the news via Twitter:

McDonald’s chief executive explained the significance of the rollout date.

USA Today reported:

In an Interview with USA TODAY, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook explained Thursday was selected as the release date for the brass-colored coins because it would’ve been the 100th birthday of Jim Delligatti, a McDonald’s franchisee in western Pennsylvania who invented the Big Mac.

The coin idea sprung from the role that the Big Mac has played in measuring purchasing power.

In 1986, The Economist started using the Big Mac Index as a way of measuring the purchasing power of international currency. “They use it to this day,” Easterbrook said. “Why not have some fun with it? Create our own currency.”

Other outlets recounted the origin of the Big Mac.

Bloomberg reported:

As with many of its popular and long-lasting menu items, the idea for the Big Mac came from a franchisee.

In 1967, Michael James “Jim” Delligatti lobbied the company to let him test the burger at his Pittsburgh restaurants. Later, he acknowledged the Big Mac’s similarity to a popular sandwich sold by the Big Boy chain.

“This wasn’t like discovering the light bulb. The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket,” Delligatti said, according to “Behind the Arches.”

McDonald’s wants to protect its storied menu item and promises it won’t alter the burger, even as it introduces other big changes to its business.

Business Insider reported:

McDonald’s has found success with offering different sizes in the form of the Grand Mac and Mac Jr. for limited periods. However, Easterbrook says the chain is cautious of making big changes like swapping the patty for a veggie burger or chicken.

“We think the Big Mac needs to be sacrosanct,” Easterbrook said.

Another thing McDonald’s won’t get the Big Mac mixed up in: cryptocurrency.

Despite the MacCoin’s phonetic similarities to Bitcoin, Easterbrook assured Business Insider that the “currency” was purposefully created to be “tangible,” in keeping with the Big Mac’s meaty tradition.

McDonald’s has been testing changes to its menu and business operations, introducing fresh-cooked hamburgers in many markets and removing plastic straws from its U.K. stores.

This move could help convince fans that the burger they love isn’t going anywhere.

For fans worried that this latest gimmick will turn out like McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce promotion, where demand far outstripped supply, consumers can rest assured.

Thrillist reports that over 6.2 million coins will be distributed.

On social media some remarked that the minted coin seems like a throwback marketing move:

Others remarked that people are more likely to collect the coins than redeem them:

Many seem more interested in the coin than the free burger:

On Facebook, users praised the program:

Here are the agencies behind the campaign:

McDonald’s Corporation – Client
Golin – Lead Agency
Osborne Coinage – Coin Production
TBWA – Coin Design Agency
The Marketing Store – Global Coin Logistics
MPC – Post-Production and Live Action Production
WABI Productions – Local Production Team
Another Country – Final Mix
Heavy Duty – Music Track

What do you think of McDonald’s throwback move, PR Daily readers?

(Image via)

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