It's a pretty common sight to see teens huddled near a fast food counter, pooling their change to buy some fries or a burger to share. Scrounging for snacks is a right of passage for many young people.
In Sweden, McDonald's and agency DDB Stockholm found a way to help the environment and help people afford more burgers by allowing consumers to pay for food with empty cans. Billboards around Stockholm announcing the campaign had a roll of black plastic bags attached, each with a custom price list on it. One recycled can is worth 1 Krona, so a hamburger or cheeseburger cost 10 cans and 40 cans would get you a Big Mac.
DDB Stockholm creative Simon Higby says the challenge was to get young people into McDonalds after the summer festivals or hot days in the park. "Youngsters don't always have so much cash, but sometimes they can get empty cans," he says. "So, accepting cans in return for burgers gets them to McDonald's and the cans to the recycling depot. Everyone's happy."
It's just the latest example of a brand using recycling as a selling point. Remember when Coke made an arcade game powered by plastic bottles? If you can attract consumers by making them feel like there's a bit of good attached to the act of buying, you're winning, and for a place selling burgers, that's a pretty solid accomplishment.