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Stop being that guy – McDonald’s Pokémon TCG promotion and beyond

Most of us have memories of a fast food treat when we were younger. Whether that was heading to Burger King for a 24 carat gold-plated Pokémon card or a Pokémon toy packaged with your Happy meal at McDonald’s. Throughout the years, The Pokémon Company has collaborated with many fast food brands amplifying the excitement of children everywhere as their day out not only includes a burger but also some Pokémon cards. 

Disclaimer: Ludkins Media is a media outlet aimed at providing the most up-to-date TCG news. This is the opinion of the Editor reflecting on the vast amount of interest in yesterday’s illustration and not of Ludkins Media as a whole. Whether you agree or disagree, comment on Facebook and Instagram and let’s spark a debate that allows us all to reflect. 

Last week, McDonald’s Pokémon cards promotion for #Pokemon25 launched in the UK, months after the original North American release. Just like the United States, this led to an immense surge in demand for Happy Meals and a lack of supply of Pokémon product to go around. This set includes 50 cards with each Happy Meal pack containing a booster pack of four cards with one holographic – making the full set more difficult than usual to complete compared to older fast food promos. 

Every week, we release an illustration and this McDonald’s illustration is our most successful of all time. Considering the rise in posts on social media and eBay of these packs selling at excessively high prices, our focus was to amplify the current situation and try and make one person stand back and think about whether they really need to buy another 100 Happy Meals (not kidding i’ve seen this in person). 

Mcdonalds Pokémon Promotion cards

This attitude of buying bulk amounts of modern product and flogging online for high prices is nothing new, we’ve seen it all year. That being said, this example at McDonald’s is the clearest depiction of what is happening right now in Pokémon TCG. Of course, as the hobby increases in popularity, demand will increase, but this idea of purchasing whatever is available for the sake of it is nothing short of detrimental to the future generations of Pokémon enthusiasts. 

We know this scarcity isn’t new to 2021, Speaking with Gary “King Pokémon”, he reminded us all that even back in 1999, Pokémon cards were hard to find. The difference lies in the attitude around the purchase, this widespread idea of hoarding modern product either for a quick flip or future gain misses the mark by losing that excitement of collecting that made Pokémon TCG so special in the first place. And sure, the current spike in demand with the lack of supply has a massive effect on our want for new products, but there is a possibility for self-restraint and the ability to fight that FOMO. 

Why can we not all be more mindful of the purchases we make? Just because there are products on the shelf at our local Walmart or promotions at McDonald’s targeting new fans to the franchise doesn’t mean we need to scope out long-term investment opportunities. By creating a stranglehold on new products, this removes the nostalgia for future generations to look back at this current Sword and Shield generation of Pokémon in 15 years’ time. 

At the moment times are tough, opening booster packs we find on random shelves can give an enjoyment outside of our mundane routines but next time instead of purchasing every blister of that set you don’t collect, why not purchase a couple and leave the rest for the next person? Obviously this is idolising the perfect situation, because honestly in the current market if you leave boxes on the shelf the next person will come and purchase everything you left behind. As a community, we need to continue to emphasise the damage this attitude can have and the differences between purchasing products you care about for a collection versus purchasing whatever you see available. 

Our illustration showcasing a child crying as an adult storms out with dozens of Happy Meals resonated with a large amount of the community, the picture was shared extensively across Instagram and Facebook highlighting that most us know this attitude only benefits the eBay flipper that cares not for the hobby. That being said, from a Pokémon TCG enthusiasts perspective we can all take a minute to think before buying the random packs we see here and there. Not only does this free up money to purchase products you actually care about, but intrinsically it creates a more positive environment for everyone. 

In groups all across Facebook, individuals are purchasing and trading McDonald’s cards looking to complete the master set. Others, post pictures of their holo Pikachu with screenshots of eBay listings at £200+ (no this card sells for £20 MAX). These McDonald’s cards are mass produced, and a showcase of the intrinsic want to make everything a collectible investment rather than an enjoyable hobby. I beg, anyone that’s purchasing “additional toys” in excess or 50 Happy Meals at a time to rethink why they actually want to complete this set. Buying two Happy Meals isn’t harmful, buying from the guy who has 100 doubles of each card is. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re swapping toys with our kids to get a pack of 4 Pokemon cards, how is that right?

As a community we’re stronger than the sum of our parts, there is an opportunity to emphasise that this behaviour is detrimental. YouTubers and influencers in this space have used this McDonald’s Pokémon cards situation to speak up. Now let’s try to move forward with this approach and create a community that continues to see the benefits in building up future generations. 

Read a differing opinion on why this is a good thing here

For more info on #Pokemon25 and to join the debate follow Ludkins Media on Instagram and Facebook.

John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor


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