McDonald's Plays on Love for NFL Teams in New Giveaway Game

Fans May Root for Rivals to Win $500,000 or a Trip to Super Bowl 50

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Jerry Rice is rooting for the Cowboys and Mike Ditka is a Packers fan. Well, in commercials at least.

In spots for McDonald's, the former NFL stars are switching allegiances and suggesting that die-hard fans might root for different teams in order to win prizes in 'Game Time Gold,' a new game that hits restaurants Nov. 3.

The game, which includes weekly giveaways of $500,000 and trips to Super Bowl 50, comes three years into McDonald's tenure as an official sponsor of the NFL.

In one of two DDB spots that debut Tuesday, longtime San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Mr. Rice proudly displays a Dallas Cowboys star on his lawn, to the dismay of 49ers fans who walk by.

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In another, Mr. Ditka, well-known for his time playing for and coaching the Chicago Bears, selects a sleeveless Green Bay Packers sweater from his closet.

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"The idea for the promotion came from McDonald's, but we certainly have collaborated with the NFL throughout the development of the promotion," said Douglas Freeland, director of sports and entertainment alliances at McDonald's.

Deion Sanders, who had a career in both the NFL and Major League Baseball, appears in a separate spot from Burrell Communications.

"We've got three celebrities that are still very much in the mainstream from a popular culture standpoint," said Mr. Freeland.

The commercials have not yet aired and the game does not begin until Nov. 3. Still, much like its All Day Breakfast launch, McDonald's is using social media to generate early buzz. A video posted on Mr. Rice's Twitter and Facebook accounts on Oct. 21 showed Mr. Ditka in a Packers jersey, without referring to McDonald's.

"It created a lot of energy and buzz, which we had hoped for," Mr. Freeland said.

It even led Chicago's NBC affiliate to report on the video showing Mike Ditka in Packers gear. "That was not planted," Mr. Freeland said of the NBC story.

However, the promotion will have a big NBC tie-in. Each week a winning team will be announced on NBC Sunday Night Football, and those who entered with that team will win a small order of fries. Prizes include four weekly giveaways of $500,000 and four-night trips for two people to Super Bowl 50. Other prizes include 800 giveaways of an Xbox One console and the Madden NFL 16 game, as well as a final drawing set for early January to give away another trip for two to the Super Bowl.

'Game Time Gold' has some similarities to McDonald's well-known Monopoly promotion, which is not running in the U.S. this year. There will be peel-and-play pieces on food and drink items, and the giveaways include McDonald's food and cash. The NFL contributed the Super Bowl tickets, Mr. Freeland said. The peel-and-play game marks the first time McDonald's is asking players to text the codes from the game pieces to enter. They can also enter the codes online.

The game begins Nov. 3 and runs through Nov. 30, a bit later in the year than Monopoly usually runs. One reason is that McDonald's has been busy the last few months preparing and promoting its All Day Breakfast launch. Also, "this is a highly-anticipated, prime part of the NFL season," Mr. Freeland said.

This is the first year a Monopoly contest has not been run in the U.S. since 2002. McDonald's said the decision stemmed in part from tying into Super Bowl 50.

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