McDonald’s Will Soon Accept Hugs As Payment

McDonald’s is taking love as legal tender.

As part of a promotional offer from Feb. 2 through Valentine’s Day, the fast-food behemoth will be accepting expressions of affection as payment for food. Winners will be randomly selected at pre-designated times at participating McDonald’s locations, and a McDonald’s employee will instruct them to perform a “random act of Lovin’.”

The company will announce the “Pay with Lovin’” campaign in a commercial slated to air Sunday during Super Bowl XLIX.

The ad, which hit YouTube on Friday, features peppy McDonald’s cashiers surprising incredulous customers by requesting they pay for their food by dancing, hugging their companions or calling their mothers to say “I love you.”

Terri Hickey, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said the company expects about 1 million customers to benefit from the giveaway. Each participating restaurant will have 100 such deals, 55 of which are divided between the first two days of the campaign, according to the official rules.

This promotion comes at a rocky time for McDonald’s, which saw the abrupt departure of its chief executive this week amid slumping sales.

Super Bowl ad slots, which cost $4.5 million for 30 seconds, can be powerful tools for spurring sales. A study released this month by professors from Stanford University and Humboldt University Berlin found that advertisers’ return on the investment can be as high as 258 percent.

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