Published November 14, 2013
The NFL this weekend is kicking off what is believed to be its first McDonald's Happy Meal premium promotion. The effort will be tied to the league's "NFL Rush Zone" animated property, which started online, and now airs on Nicktoons. Beginning this weekend, consumers buying Happy Meals at any of the QSR's 14,000-plus U.S. locations can get one of 32 figures of "NFL Rushers" from the animated show, each bearing a different team logo, packaged with a miniature football, which the figure can "throw." Tens of millions of the premiums are expected to be distributed over the four-week period of the promotion. McDonald's is supporting the promotion with dedicated TV advertising on kids TV outlets from Leo Burnett, along with digital support and various POS advertising. A Happy Meal program is a badge of honor for any property. While the NFL did some kids premiums from Burger King when it was a corporate sponsor from '05-08, this is a stake in the ground for the league. After struggling for a few years in the QSR category, it now has both Papa John’s and McDonald’s as large activators and buyers of NFL media. “We’ve been making headway with this property, but as the biggest consumer promotion for “Rush Zone" to date, this is really notable," said NFL VP/Fan Strategy & Marketing Peter O’Reilly. Seeking to broaden its appeal among kids, the league launched "NFL Rush Zone" several years ago. "NFL Rush Zone" is an online series that launches its second season Nov. 20 on Nicktoons, with 20 half-hour episodes. Consumer-product efforts have yielded a total of 13 licensees, making various products, including iPod and laptop skins from Skinit, and apparel, including T-shirts from Outer Stuff, one of which can be seen in a current NFLShop.com TV ad.