It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling…and Monopoly is back at McDonalds! Many of my younger years were spent collecting those little pieces and diligently sticking them on my Monopoly board. Many a fist has been shaken in air after realizing the only thing keeping me from my “millions” [read: free milkshake] was Baltic Ave. Oh, Baltic Ave., how you haunted me. But this year, this year could be different.

McDonalds/Monopoly ads are again hitting the air in full force this week, one of which performed better than most. In it, anticipation builds as various McDonalds patrons are shown vying for one of this year’s fabulous prizes: a Ford Mustang, cash, prizes…and um, a Wal-Mart Gift Card?

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The anticipation building as to what the characters might win dominates the first half of the ad, but was the anticipation better than the pay off? Viewer attention is strong as the anticipation builds and viewers feel highly positive feelings toward the car, cash, and vacation prize imagery.

Positive: 68%

Positive: 58%

Positive: 69%

But a Wal-Mart gift card? 1 in 4 viewers feel negatively toward this image. Not surprisingly, a gift card to America’s retail king does not resonate on the level of a new car or a pile of cash.

Negative: 24%




But shouldn’t viewers be excited to win anything? With McDonalds saying 1 in 4 has a chance to win, who wouldn’t be? Let’s see how the winning patrons react….



Do they look thrilled? Not really. My guess is they didn’t win the cash…or the car. Relying on the eyes (at such a close proximity) to express excitement is a slippery slope, especially when promoting polarizing prizes such as a Wal-Mart gift card. In this case, it didn’t complete the winning “story.”
If they don’t look excited to win, why should be excited to play?

Bottom line:
With so many feeling negatively toward the Wal-Mart gift card, do viewers feel like the promotion is pulling the rug out from underneath them? While the promotion is a way to “get rich,” the brand being promoted (Wal-Mart) is seen as “cheap.”
After 23 years, it is important to continue to provide viewers a reason to be excited to play…even if they may never find that winning game piece.

Are you lovin’ it? Tell us your thoughts.