McDonald’s allowed customers to ‘pay with love’


Kathryn Ikeda

Sophomore Melodee Sokol creates an order for a customer at the McDonald’s on 86th Street. Sokol was able to watch someone “pay with lovin'” during the McDonald’s campaign Feb. 2-14.

Kathryn Ikeda, Staff Writer

This past Valentine’s Day, McDonald’s decided to play off their famous slogan, ‘I’m lovin’ it’ with an extended celebration to spread the love.

McDonald’s campaign, ‘Pay With Lovin’,’ was announced Feb. 1 in McDonald’s first Super Bowl commercial in eight years.  Between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14, ‘Pay With Lovin’’ allowed randomly selected McDonald’s customers to pay for their purchases with an act of kindness instead of money. Every McDonald’s in the U.S. allowed a potential of 100 customers to ‘pay with love’ in hopes of making a difference in their customer’s lives by brightening their day.

“With a brand as big as ours, which is obviously one of the biggest on the planet, we thought this was our opportunity to show that a little loving can make a big difference in this world,” Eric Free, the director of communications for 14 metro McDonalds, said.

While the approximate retail value for each prizewinner was $5.60, there was no minimum or maximum price to win. “It could be I got an ice cream cone, or it was a $50 order for an entire family,” Free said. “It doesn’t matter. They’re going to get it for free if they pay with lovin’.”

Tasks customers were asked to do ranged from calling their mom and saying hello, to doing a dance with an employee. While McDonald’s Corporate sent each store a list of possible ideas, employees were allowed to use their own ideas. “We’ve done the YMCA dance, the macarena, any kind of exciting thing like that,” Free said. “We’ve done hundreds of those activities we’ve seen.”

However, not all customer’s reactions were positive. “We had one customer where all they had to do was take a picture or sign their name on a poster and they just didn’t want to do it,” McDonald’s employee and sophomore Melodee Sokol said. “They wanted to pay with money. It was like the easiest thing to do and they didn’t want to do it.”

For most people, the reaction was opposite. “It really brightens peoples days because they don’t have to pay,” she said. “It’s kinda cool to watch. People just smile and act surprised and are like ‘Wow, I can’t believe that just happened.’”

To choose the customers, McDonald’s sent a specific list of times and doors to each store. Whichever customer walked in at that time or the closest customer after would be able to pay with love. “It’ll say something like at 12:53 and 12 seconds. And that person who comes through is the one who gets it,” Free said.

In the case of a winner being unable to complete the task suggested to them, the customer was able to execute a different act. “We’ll do anything that’s fun and exciting and as long as they want to do something, we’ll do whatever,” Free said.

This new campaign came after a 21% drop of sales globally last year.