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TMCNet:  Bulls offer 266K Big Macs to fans [Chicago Tribune :: ]

[April 15, 2014]

Bulls offer 266K Big Macs to fans [Chicago Tribune :: ]

(Chicago Tribune (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 15--Here's a little math problem, inspired by Hamburger University: If 19,000 Chicago Bulls fans receive coupons for a free McDonald's Big Mac when the team wins at home after scoring at least 100 points, then how many free sandwiches have Chicagoans potentially eaten since the start of the regular season? The answer is 266,000 free special-sauce-lettuce-cheese burgers, assuming every one of the 19,000 coupon-holders claimed their Big Mac within 48 hours of this season's 14 winning 100-point home games.


The folks at McDonald's aren't counting, however. After the promotions, they have no system in place to determine how many of the coupons are validated at the 500 restaurants in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, said Kelly Hoyman, marketing director for the Chicago region for McDonald's.

For the Oak Brook-based company, the cost of giving away the sandwiches, which sell for an average price of $3.89, has been more than worthwhile since it began partnering with the Chicago Bulls a decade ago and offering the promotion.

"It's not something that we necessarily follow as far as numbers," said Hoyman, who said the promotion inspires screaming crowds during 100-point-game-finishes at the United Center.

The excitement is then shared and Tweeted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. "Based on the fan response we've seen, it's just a proven winner because we know the passion the fans have for the Big Mac." There's an official name for these promotions -- "in-arena activations" -- and they've been around for decades, said Curt Gruber, vice president for sports and event marketing for Kemper Lesnik, a marketing and public relations firm in Chicago.

Quick-serve restaurants frequently partner with high-profile sports teams to offer everything from a free doughnut, cup of coffee, or order of French fries to fans whom they hope will visit their establishments later.

"It's just one more touch point in front of this massive consumer group who will keep them in mind," Gruber said.

Gruber said he doesn't see the promotions ending any time soon, because customers respond to them in high numbers. We're guessing they do so without allowing too much thought to this number: 266,000 Big Macs add up to a whopping 14,630,000 calories.

vortiz@tribune.com ___ (c)2014 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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