Beaned last year, McDonald's tries again with Babies

May 22, 1998|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

They're back. And this time, there are 200 million of them.

Today, McDonald's launches another Teenie Beanie Babies promotion to pump up its lackluster sales of burgers and fries.

Last year, the promotion became a public-relations mess. Only 100 million toys were offered so shortages caused bad feelings among left-out customers. Adults were snapping up kids' Happy Meals just to get the toys. In some cases, wasted Happy Meal food was actually spilling out of trash cans near the restaurants.

But McDonald's says this year's four-week promotionwill be handled differently. Adult Beanie Baby collectors won't be forced to buy kids' food to get a toy. In addition to a Happy Meal-with-toy option, they will be able to purchase one of the Ty Inc. toys for a separate price with any food or drink order. The company is recommending a five- or 10-toy limit.

But McDonald's smartest move is doubling the number of the cuddly creatures, said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a restaurant consulting firm in Chicago. "There should be an adequate supply. Two hundred million is almost one per person in the United States. And I don't want mine."

Pub Date: 5/22/98

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