4) McDonald’s Mini Beanie Babies (1998)
For an odd stint of time, Beanie Babies were an unhealthy obsession, and McDonald’s capitalized on this craze by offering limited addition minis that were valued by some collectors at a higher cost per ounce than actual gold. When the dust settled, most of the Beanie Babies reverted back to being somewhere around the cost of material plus a couple extra dollars for cuteness. But at the fad’s peak they were a force to be reckoned with.
3) McDonald’s Changeables (1987)
What do you call Transformers with no licensing rights to the actual product? Changeables, of course. This McDonald’s classic consisted of six different menu items, including fries, a Big Mac, and a milkshake, that could transform into awesomely lifelike characters with the turning of a few hinges and a small amount of effort. Naturally, by “awesomely lifelike” we mean kind of sad. But still, a burger with arms is considerably more lifelike than a burger without.
2) Burger King Star Wars Glasses (1977)
Arguably a collector’s item for the truly die-hard Star Wars fan, this set of glasses continues to pop up on eBay and has been riding the fanboy gravy train for years. One of the first mega-successful fast food/movie tie-ins, Burger King didn’t actually release the glasses until almost a year after the movie had hit theaters. However, they still reaped the benefits of attaching themselves to the pop culture phenom that was (and is) Star Wars.
1) Jack in the Box Antenna Ball (1995)
One of the few fast food giveaways that reached a peak where it could be seen almost everywhere you looked. Jack in the Box reports they have given away over 22 million antenna balls since the craze started in 1995 and the decorative add-on has been released in countless versions promoting everything from sports teams to Christmas. If only for sheer numbers, this antenna ball sits atop the list of greatest fast food freebies of all time.
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