McDonald’s Revives Promo Games Despite $24bn Fraud

10 March 2003

As the legendary New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia admitted when rebuked for the controversial appointment of a judge: “When I make a mistake, it's a beaut!”

Such engaging candor was not emulated by McDonald’s press office when on Friday it announced the upcoming launch of a new high-stakes promotional game – its first since the infamous Monopoly and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire sweepstakes.

But unlike the insouciant laxity with which the burger baron ran these earlier promotions, resulting in a fiesta of fraud totalling $24 million (€21.75m; £14.97m), the latest promo will be subject to draconian checks and balances.

Winning Time, a new instant-win game to be launched March 25, dangles a grand prize of $100,000 in cash, served with a 7.500-word sidedish of rules, conditions and disclaimers. This spells out every contingency from verification to disqualification, alongside manifold dire warnings, even a clause that covers acts of war.

Says McDonald’s vp of US marketing, Neil Golden: “Every single step in the process has been reviewed and had some added control applied to it. We have, right now, a situation where no single entity is going to control the process.” Instead the promo will be policed by dedicated internal and third-party teams that audit and monitor activities of every phase of the game’s execution

There is no truth in the rumor that lucky winners of the grand and secondary prizes (which include a Winnebago recreational vehicle, Corvette cars, and meetings with celebrities) will be required to collect their booty from Fort Knox having first swum an alligator-infested swamp, scaled an electrified wire fence and outrun a pack of rottweilers.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff