To Celebrate 50 Years of the Big Mac, McDonald’s Debuts Its Own ‘Currency’

Thankfully, it’s not more crypto

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Brands using blockchain or its own form of cryptocurrency is definitely a thing now. Predictably, technology companies like Microsoft use it to significant effect, yet puzzlingly, other brands have jumped on the bandwagon. AB InBev put beer on the blockchain this summer—and Oscar Meyer’s bacon-based currency and Burger King’s Whoppercoin in Russia stand out as bizarre yet effective stunts to shine a light on this financial instrument.

So when the words “currency” and “McDonald’s” popped up in the news this week, we held our breath—until we realized that the MacCoin wasn’t sprinting to the latest brand craze but is instead a real coin celebrating the Big Mac’s 50th anniversary.

Thankfully, the concept is simple: Buy a Big Mac starting on August 2, and customers can receive one of the 6.2 million MacCoins to be redeemed for another Big Mac later. The brass-colored collectibles, to be distributed at 14,000 participating restaurants in more than 50 countries, have design elements that highlight each decade of the Big Mac’s existence, starting with the 70s.

Invented by Pittsburgh area by franchisee Jim Delligatti, it is estimated that 1.3 billion Big Mac sandwiches are sold each year (and around 1,700 per minute according to Every Second).

The brand did try to have a little fun with the promotion by saying that the currency is “backed by the internationally iconic Big Mac,” but it has no cash value and is mostly a neat way to get coupons out for a free burger. Additionally, the coins are a nod to the Big Mac Index, a system invented by The Economist in 1986 to make it easier to understand currency exchange.

“They use it to this day,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told USA Today. “Why not have some fun with it? Create our own currency.”


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

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.