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How Fast Food Promotional Items Drive You to Action

Promotional products aren’t just used to boost interest at trade show booths or to reward employees for jobs well done. Look around you – from the printed “Grand Opening” banners above store windows to the colorful array of magnetic awareness ribbons slapped onto the bumpers of minivans, companies and individuals rely on promotional items to spread the word about their services, their special events, and even their opinions.

Some of the most obvious and well-known promotional products (which also happen to be my favorites) are the ones used by fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. You guys know what I’m talking about – collectible drinking cup sets, Teenie Beanie Babies, blockbuster-movie-themed toys, and so on. Through their implementation of exclusive, imprinted merchandise, companies like McDonald’s and Burger King generate buzz about their promotions and increase traffic to their stores. The brilliance behind these fast food giants’ marketing plans? Customers HAVE TO spend money there in order to receive the promotional item in question.

Think about it for a second. Do you think that something like miniature Transformers toys would be that in-demand if they were available in every corner drugstore? Well, perhaps, but it’s not likely. The reason McDonald’s and Burger King are so successful is because they offer customers an exclusive item that they can’t buy anywhere else (unless there is some sort of illegal promotional-item-smuggling ring that I’m unaware of). By providing a limited-time deal to their customers, these restaurant chains are inspiring conversation and spurring action.

Promotions affect different people in different ways. For example, if I see a McDonald’s commercial that advertises EXCLUSIVE My Little Pony dolls, then chances are good that I’ll become excited and call my fellow 1980s-toys-lovers to tell them about the offer – that would be me generating buzz about the promotion. Then, I’d probably head to my local McDonald’s as soon as possible before they run out of My Little Ponies – that would be me taking action right away, rather than waiting. After that, I’d get out my wallet and deplete its contents in order to take home as many ponies from the set as I could – that would be me spending money at their establishment because I want their promotional items.

It’s important to remember that some promotions aren’t about the actual promotional items, but instead about the exclusivity or the rarity of said items. As much as I love toys from the 80s, I doubt I’d be rushing to buy those miniature My Little Ponies if I could drive to any Target or Toys-R-Us instead of going to McDonald’s. Why, you ask? Reason number one: the time constraint. If I know that I have all the time in the world to leisurely shop for the promotional items I want, then I’m probably not going to be inspired to act quickly. Reason number two: the uniqueness. If I am a collector of whichever item McDonald’s and/or Burger King is offering, then I can ONLY go there to get them for my collection. That would force me to take advantage of the deal before it’s gone, because every other person hunting for the item would also have to go to McDonald’s to get it (unless, of course, I have access to the aforementioned promotional products black market).

Which promotional items – fast food or otherwise – are your favorites? Do you feel the same way about exclusive deals and feeling inspired to act quickly? Tell us about it and respond in the Comments Box below. Thanks for reading the Quality Logo Products® blog, and we can’t wait to hear from you!


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on

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