CHICAGO – McDonald’s is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac with the release of its own coin. On Thursday, August 2, customers who buy a Big Mac at participating U.S. restaurants will receive a MacCoin good for another Big Mac, USA Today reports. Customers can redeem their MacCoins for the free burger beginning Friday, August 3, and until the end of the year.
McDonald’s selected August 2 as the coin’s release date because it coincides with the 100th birthday of Jim Delligatti, who, as a franchisee of McDonald’s, invented the Big Mac. The use of a coin as the free coupon is tied to the iconic burger’s role in measuring purchase power. In 1986, The Economist debuted the Big Mac Index to gauge the purchasing power of international currency. “They use it to this day,” said McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. “Why not have some fun with it? Create our own currency.”
The burger has inspired devotion from its fans, including a Big Mac Museum Restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, which has a 14-foot-tall Big Mac sculpture. Last year, McDonald’s sold 1.3 billion Big Macs.
Each MacCoin highlights one of the past five decades. The 1970s coin showcases flower power; the 1980s coin alludes to pop art; the 1990s coin is defined with bold, abstract shapes; the early 2000s coin focuses on technology, and the 2010s coin depicts the evolution of communication.
McDonald’s had this to say about the Big Mac: “In its 50 years, the legendary taste of the Big Mac has helped it achieve universal recognition and a lasting legacy. No matter where they live in the world, Big Mac fans recognize the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun as the iconic burger with a flavor combination that’s just as craveable and delicious as the day it was introduced.”