A promotional deal made last July 1st between McDonalds’ and the Toronto Raptors to give away free french fries whenever the Raptors made 12 or more 3-pointers took an unexpected turn when the team traded for Kawhi Leonard 18 days after finalizing the promotion, according to Jake Edmiston of the Financial Post.
Days before the Kawhi trade, McDonald's promised to hand out free fries whenever the Raptors hit 12 three-pointers. They figured they'd give away 700,000 medium fries in the season. Instead, it was 2 million. That's $5.8M in french fries. https://t.co/JQU1LYaUqT— Jake Edmiston (@jakeedmiston) June 7, 2019
The previous season, the Raptors averaged 11.8 made 3-pointers per game. Chuck Coolen, the McDonald’s executive who conceived and executed the promotion, expected the team to exceed that in roughly half of their games. What he did not expect was for the Raptors to trade DeMar DeRozan—the face of the franchise and an infamously reticent 3-point shooter—for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, two players more than comfortable letting it fly from deep. Add in the midseason acquisition of Marc Gasol, and the Raptors had drastically upgraded their shooting at three of the five starting positions since agreeing to Coolen’s promotion.
Nearly a year later, the Raptors are indeed at the next level, ahead two games to one in the first NBA finals in franchise history — and McDonald’s is out more than two million medium-size orders of French fries.
That’s nearly three times the 700,000 orders the company projected its Ontario restaurants would give away during the promotion.
After the trade, Coolen and McDonald’s had the option to raise the 12-shot giveaway threshold, but opted not to. Despite the added shooting, the Raptors barely exceeded the regular season projection, breaking the threshold 44 times, one more than last season. A deep postseason run — the Raptors have triggered the promotion 10 times thus far this playoffs — and the public’s love of free fries seem to be the main catalysts for the massive gap between projected vs. actual giveaways.
McDonald’s didn’t underestimate the Raptors so much as it did the appetite for free fries in Ontario. The regular season’s two million free orders — at an average menu price of $2.89 — was $5.8 million worth of fries.
While full tallies for the playoffs were not available, in Game One of the finals alone, where the Raptors hit 13 threes, McDonald’s gave away a record 80,000 free orders.
Casey Holdahl chimed in on Twitter to frame the story in relation to the Blazer’s current promotion with McDonald’s.
For reference, McDonalds gave away free six-piece McNuggets (which you could redeem multiple times the next day) every time the Blazers scored 100 points this season, which happened 73 times. https://t.co/NSFmP2nOPA— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) June 7, 2019
If you’d like to read more, you can read Jake’s full story here.