Massucci's Take: McDonald's Monopoly winner gets a sweet $1 million

Anyone who has ever gone on a Big Mac binge in hopes of winning the $1 million prize in the McDonald's Monopoly game may be feeling a little more hopeful. Brandi Futch, of White House, Tenn., collected both Boardwalk and Park Place (the two pieces needed to win) after she ordered a McChicken sandwich, fries and a sweet tea. The big prize came on that sweet cup of tea.

Futch, 23, who couldn't be immediately reached by DailyFinance, works in customer service for the Grand Ole Opry and will receive $50,000 a year for the next 20 years. It may not be enough to retire on, especially after taxes, but it's enough to take care of most of her needs.

"I'm still in shock," Futch was quoted saying in a McDonald's (MCD) press release. "I haven't decided what I'll do with the money I've won, but I know that a new house and car are on my list." Even with her $1 million prize, Futch said she plans to keep playing the game.
While I believe McDonald's Monopoly has grown a little too complicated over the years, news that someone has won will certainly help ignite interest in the game. Lauren Velasquez, a customer at a New York City McDonald's, who is four years younger than the Monopoly winner, says hearing about Futch's victory makes her more likely to play the fast-food giant's game next year. "I totally thought that never happened," she says.

"I thought it was a scam for McDonald's to make you buy more food and get fat," says Velasquez's friend Jocelyn Milligan, also 19, of Brooklyn. The two don't eat at McDonald's often, they say, but they like the idea of winning if they're going to buy the food anyway.

McDonald's Monopoly is a decades-long tradition (it wasn't played in 2002, though), says Douglas Freeland, a director of marketing who has run the program for several years. Although people of all ages play, Freeland says the game specifically targets folks between the ages of 18 and 29.

Ever since I collected Frosted Flakes box tops to get a Tony the Tiger cereal bowl in the mail at age seven, I've been a sucker for marketing campaigns like McDonald's Monopoly. Although I'd rather save the calories and buy a lottery ticket, few things match the unexpected thrill of sitting down to eat and finding out you have won $1 million.

While McDonald's doesn't have a monopoly on giving away big prizes, it does have a big winner and now another face to put forward to help promote McDonald's Monopoly in the future. Futch will be collecting her million from McDonald's into her early 40s and, I'd imagine, singing its praises a million times over the next 20 years.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer and columnist for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.
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