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:
We’re celebrating 50 years of Big Mac by creating a global currency—MacCoin—each one worth a free Big Mac around the ð, with 5 collectible designs for 5 legendary decades. Starting August 2, collect your own MacCoins when you buy a Big Mac while supplies last. #BigMac50 pic.twitter.com/xn8Z9GNLSp
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) July 29, 2018
McDonald’s chief executive explained the significance of the rollout date.
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.
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.
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.
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:
— Paul R. La Monica (@LaMonicaBuzz) July 30, 2018
Others remarked that people are more likely to collect the coins than redeem them:
If you think I’d redeem a MacCoin for another Big Mac rather than hoarding a vault of them like a treasure for decades, you are incorrect.
Because I’d do that second thing. pic.twitter.com/MCWqA0NZVm
— David (@FakeEyes22) July 30, 2018
Many seem more interested in the coin than the free burger:
So, if you buy a BigMac this week, you’ll get a Big Mac coin. I haven’t bought a BigMac in maybe 5 years, but I kinda want that coin… ð
— Joe™ (@TanookiKuribo) July 30, 2018
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?