Commercial Grade: McDonald’s Monopoly Ad with LeBron James – Video & Analysis

Every year, in October, McDonald’s hosts a Monopoly game in which certain items from the menu come with game pieces attached to them that may yield prizes such as McDonald’s food items, video games, cars and a grand prize of a million bucks.

Other than the marketing tie-in very little about the McDonald’s game of Monopoly resembles the board game version, but I find that to be of little importance.

mcdonald's monopoly pieces

My Monopoly collection through the first 6 days.

You see, I love McDonald’s.  Even during the 11-month Monopoly offseason I eat there several times per week.  During the game season?  At least daily, sometimes more.  Morgan Spurlock ain’t got a damn thing on me.  Well, except a bunch of money, TV deals, and fame.  But at least I don’t go around whining about fast food being evil and hurting people.  I know how bad the stuff is for me and I choose to forge ahead with my orders of McNuggets and fries anyway.  If someone can’t drive by a restaurant without stopping in for a couple thousand calories that is their own fault, not the restaurant’s.

People always say things to me like “if you saw what actually goes into that food you wouldn’t eat it,” or “that’s not even real beef,” or even “I think I’m going to throw up all over myself just from seeing you order.”  To them I say “Point taken.  Now please give me some elbow room so I can devour this delicious mound of greasy, culinary excellence.”

As with bands, movies and teams, I feel compelled to defend McDonald’s when people deem it inferior to other eateries.  Since I often declare on my Commercial Grade site that I will not patronize a company if their advertising is exceedingly annoying, the latest McDonald’s commercial featuring LeBron James and promoting the Monopoly game puts me in a precarious position.

How am I going to justify this?

The commercial starts by giving us the random fact that the odds of any group of 4 people all being named Stacy is one in six million.  I like random facts, so we’re off to a decent start.

Next, we find out that the odds of winning a prize in the McDonald’s Monopoly game are one in four.  I’m still with you, Mickey D’s.  Keep the stats coming.  You never know when you can turn something into a gambling opportunity.

To demonstrate just how easy it is they show us one of the Stacys peeling a winning ticket for the million-dollar prize.  Granted, we don’t get to see the group’s reaction for long, but I know I would be going completely berserk if I turned over Boardwalk.  The Stacys react less enthusiastically than if they found out Sex and the City were being brought back to HBO for a 7th season.

Now is the part where the commercial becomes pathetic.

Enter LeBron, the scourge of Cleveland (and maybe the entire country, outside South Beach).  The “Chosen One” takes a seat with his value meal as the narrator starts to gives us odds on LeBron’s declaration that the Heat would win 7 championships with him.  Unfortunately, King James, interrupts, saying “Come on, man.”

I know this is LeBron’s attempt at being self-deprecating.  He’s doing a bit of damage control, trying to limit the fallout of the disastrous “Decision” special and the ensuing Miami welcome party.  I don’t care.  He’s not earning any sympathy from me, no matter how much the golden arches tempt me to grant it.

You know how The Office makes people laugh but can also make them feel really uncomfortable due to the awkward situations the characters put themselves in?  That’s exactly how LeBron’s line delivery – “Free fries!” – and cheesy look back and forth makes me feel.

Side note – can someone please make an animated, slow motion gif of that side-to-side look?  We could then add unlimited hilarious captions to it.  You would be doing the Internet a huge favor, tech-savvy MSF reader.

After that the commercial tapers off, reeling off some more odds and rules with nothing particularly eye-opening to sway my opinion either way.

I wanted a lot more random stats, a lot more of LeBron’s bad acting, or a lot more of both.

anakin episode 3I wanted a lot less Stacys, a lot less narration of self-explanatory nonsense, and a lot less of LeBron trying to be human.

Embrace the dark side, young LeBron.  Most people already dislike you (or at the very least dislike your decision to leave Cleveland to form your party posse in Miami) so you might as well make your transformation to full-fledged villain, a la Anakin at the end of Episode III, but without getting fully disfigured at the hands of your mentor.

Final note: I am 4 for 46 on my game pieces so far, winning 2 small McFlurrys, a breakfast sandwich and a medium fries (“Free fries!”).

Since the odds of winning are supposed to be 1 in 4, I am either really unlucky (probably) or the game is rigged (possibly).  The commercial wasn’t good, but neither my losing nor this ad are bad enough to keep me from playing the rest of the month.

Final Grade: C-


Follow me on Twitter @keithmullett


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About Keith Mullett

Keith is an Ohio-based sports and pop culture junkie who began writing for MSF in June 2011. His ramblings about sports, music, movies and books can be further enjoyed by following him on Twitter @keithmullett.

In addition to his work for MSF, Keith operates a blog called Commercial Grade, in which he critiques television commercials from the perspective of the average viewer.


  1. This article doesn't make any sense. I get the feeling the writer wanted people to read so he writes about Lebron. No creativity at all.

    • I thank you for your visit, but I respectfully disagree with your viewpoint. How does not it not make sense? He begins by stating his personal affinity for McDonald's, and their Monopoly game, but then provides a rather thorough and sensible rebuke of the commercial. And seeing as how this entire series is about reviewing commercials, I think it makes perfect sense.

      • do you want to trade monoply cards…. I have some that are not complete… please help.. we can split the winings!!

        • keithmullett says:

          Unfortunately Slavina, I don't have any of the hard to find pieces. They are – Mediterranean Ave, Vermont Ave, Virginia Ave, Tennessee Ave, Kentucky Ave, Ventnor Ave, Pennsylvania Ave, Boardwalk and Short Line Railroad.
          If you have any of those just go buy more food and you'll get the prize. Thanks for stopping by the article.

        • keithmullett says:

          There is also this, from the game rules, to consider: "The purchase, sale, trading, or barter of Game Pieces, Game Stamps, FREE Codes or Game Codes via Online or live auctions, or any other methods, does not constitute Legitimate Channels and is expressly prohibited."

    • keithmullett says:

      Thanks for checking out the article. I write a blog for fun about TV commercials and give them letter grades based on how effective/annoying they are. This is the latest in a weekly series of sports-related ads I've reviewed here for Midwest Sports Fans. It is all meant to poke fun at those parts of commercials we all can't stand and to celebrate the ones that are hilarious.
      The article can only make as much sense as the commercial it is based on; this commercial didn't make very much sense, outside of LeBron trying to win some brownie points from the public.

  2. Lebron winning brownie points? You give Lebron too much credit. Do you really believe that Lebron came up with the commercial concept or that it was given to him? The commercial was meant to be funny and like always when it comes to Lebron people read too much into.

    • keithmullett says:

      He didn't write the ad, but I'm sure he had some say in what he was willing to do. He blatantly tried to downplay the 7 championships thing, and you're right, it was meant to be funny. Personally, I would rather him be a bad guy than try to be self-deprecating. Of course, he can't do that because he has a vested financial interest in being liked by as many fans as possible.

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