10 Cans = Free Burger


McDonald’s in Stockholm, Sweden has linked up with DDB, a full-service Swedish advertising agency, to create a new campaign that promotes recycling. The challenge for this campaign was to try to bring younger consumers into McDonald’s – like those who attend summer festivals or spend their days out at the park – by allowing recycled cans to be used as currency to purchase certain foods at McDonald’s. In doing this campaign McDonald’s is building a unique relationship with its community by participating in a positive movement of recycling, and by using a call to action for younger generations to help keep their environment clean. This campaign can also be beneficial to those who are homeless and hungry since they tend to collect cans more easily than they collect money. So how does it work? “Just take one of these bags, fill it with your empty cans and we’ll swap them for tasty burgers. Nice.” McDonald’s offers black plastic bags that consumers can use to bring in their recycled cans, 10 cans = either a hamburger or cheeseburger and 40 cans = a big mac. McDonald’s then exchanges the cans for cash at the recycling depot, and in Sweden an empty can is worth one kronor. “Youngsters don’t always have so much cash, but sometimes they can get empty cans, so accepting cans in return for burgers gets them to McDonald’s and the cans to the recycling depot. Everyone’s happy” said DDB Stockholm creative, Simon Higby. The campaign is also promoted through a local Sweden billboard which uses alliteration to display that the McDonald’s is accepting “cards, cash and cans.”

I find this campaign to be interesting because McDonald’s is often criticized in the states by consumers in my age group and tends to have a bad reputation in regards to the quality of their food. So I think this is an effective way to repair that relationship with their target audience. However, I do not think that this campaign will necessarily “fix” their quality of food problem because thats a completely different category, but overall its a good strategy to try and gain back what their company stands for and can portray the values they may have. I think another way to promote this campaign more would be to use more social media platforms, maybe a hashtag or something and to also have a realistic storytelling video. The video could show consumers bringing in cans, receiving their food, then show employees getting the cans recycled, and then show the measurement of the results so far or something which would help connect their consumers to the reality of this movement and how its making a difference.


McDonald’s – Burkvaluta | DDB Stockholm. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2014, from

McDonald’s Sweden Will Trade Empty Cans for Burgers. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2014, from

Consumers Trade Recyclables for Burgers at McDonald’s in Sweden. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/consumers-trade-recyclables-burgers-mcdonalds-sweden-159775

3 thoughts on “10 Cans = Free Burger

  1. In addition to attracting young consumers, I think the concept of using cans as payment is attractive from the social aspect for low income consumers or those who are homeless. I usually do not like McDonalds or their basic attempts to attract consumers, but this is a great idea that is beneficial to all.


  2. Countries like Sweden and Denmark increase the price of canned items in order to encourage people to recycle the can after it is used. Once the consumer recycles their can, they get back the money from the “price increase”. I question how many cans are just lying around for people to collect since their is an incentive to recycle your OWN can. I feel this is a sneaky way for McDonalds to get more people to spend money at their restaurant. I love recycling, but I do not think McDonalds should be praised for this.


  3. It is always impactful when a brand connects with the society or community because people feel like they are part of the big idea. I think this concept of giving back to the society is good and effective because it triggers empathy and people will subconsciously be involved in the campaign.


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