McDonald's restaurants in Ontario, Canada have forked over more than two million free french fries as part of a giveaway tied to the Toronto Raptors that was initiated last offseason.
Due to the Raptors' success in 2018-19 and their ascension in the NBA playoffs — where they're now leading the defending champion Golden State Warriors 2-1 in the Finals — McDonald's has given away nearly three times the 700,000 orders that the company originally projected, according to The Financial Post.
Chuck Coolen, head of marketing for McDonald's in Eastern Canada, told the publication that the initial forecast for the marketing plan was based on a previous giveaway with the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.
Coolen said McDonald's and the Raptors had finalized a sponsorship deal 18 days before Demar DeRozan was traded for Kawhi Leonard last summer. The deal was that any time the Raptors made more than 12 three-pointers in a game, it meant free french fries for Raptors fans.
A 2010 photo of McDonald's french fries. (Photo: Richard Vogel, AP)
Last season, Toronto hit the 12 three-pointer mark in 43 of 82 regular season games. This season, the Raptors hit 44, plus another 10 so far during their playoff run.
The Raptors' enhanced popularity through success has played a major factor, as McDonald's gave away a record 80,000 free french fry orders, according to The Financial Post, following Game 1 of the Finals — a game in which Toronto made 13 threes.
Mike Forman, who owns four McDonald's franchises in Whitby, Ontario, noted that while the company is losing a lot for all the free fries, there are long-term benefits that could outweigh the short-term losses. On "free french fry day," customers have to download and use the McDonald’s app to redeem their fries, which are only available the day after a Raptors game. That, as a result, can keep customers invested.
“We believe it will pay off in the future,” Forman told The Financial Post.
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