You must have heard of McDonald's Pokemon cards! With their recent reappearance in Europe and America due to the 25th anniversary of Pokemon, these promotional cards of the Japanese license had made a lot of noise. Although this latest collaboration did not take place in Japan, it is very interesting to discover its history which will have forever changed the way of collecting our favorite cards.
Today, we are going to explain everything about the successful collaboration between the leader of fast food and our beloved pocket monsters and summarize its history to make you salivate over while teaching you things about your favorite trading card game.
The first appearance of the Pocket Monsters in Ronald Macdonald
The very first cards released by the fast food star were those from the McDonald's Pokemon-e Minimum Pack collection launched only in Japan between January 26, 2002 and February 24 2002. A 6-card booster pack including a holographic card was offered with the purchase of a Happy Meal was a great success for the first collaboration between these two gigantic franchises.
This collaboration can be explained by the fact that MacDonald's was not so popular in the land of the rising sun at the time (the company was in decline in the early 2000s in Japan) and wanted to reach a younger audience in combining the American restaurant model with Japanese pop-culture to relaunch itself.
These magnificent cards that will have become legendary can still be found today in certain shops and the price can reach several hundred dollars for some! We can therefore say that this attempt at hybridization between these two quite different cultures was a great success for the greatest pleasure of collectors. This will also allow these two giants to get us out of new collaboration in the following years which will be available this time in more countries.
A different strategy to bring Japanese culture back to American territory
The alliance between Pokemon and McDonald's will have taken a different direction on the second collection. Indeed the booster card called Collection Sheet Journey Partners in Japan and released on September 18, 2010 on the archipelago will receive a translation and an English version on June 17, 2011! This is a great first given that before that McDonald's booster cards had never left Japanese territory. It is however interesting to note that the 2011 collection was only available in North America (A French translation exists for Quebec although these have never been released in Europe).
Based on the 5th generation (Black and White) this set contains 9 cards (all holographic) for Japan and 12 for North America which will also receive one figurine among 8 available (Zorua, Zoroark, Reshiram, Zekrom, Pikachu, Tepig, Oshawott and Snivy). The success of this introduction of the collaboration between the legendary collectible card game and the leader in hamburgers on American territory had been there. In addition, the results will have been more interesting in North America than in Japan, which will mark the beginning of an important strategic change at McDonald's on the sale of TCG cards.
Japan in retreat and a collaboration that has become mainly American
The 2011 edition was a real success in North America, the difference between the revenues of the Japanese and American promotional campaign will have led Pokemon and MacDonald's to focus mainly in Canada and the United States. Thus the new TCG collection of Pokemon at MacDonald's of 2012 also centered on the 5th generation (Black and White) called McDonald's Collection 2012 and released on June 15, 2012 will only be available in North America with once again a French translation only for our Quebec friends. Japan is therefore out of the equation and will no longer have any collaboration with the leader of fast food. This collection will consist of 12 cards as well as 6 new figurines (just like the previous one). The figurines available are: Pikachu, Tepig, Oshawott, Snivy, Woobat as well as Axew.
The year 2013 will not be entitled to its exclusive collection but that of 2014 will bring some strategic change on the part of these two gigantic industries. Indeed for the first time the 2014 edition (McDonald's Collection 2014 released on May 23, 2014) will have the right to a release in Australia!
This collection will focus on 6th Generation (X and Y) and will feature 12 cards as well as 12 miniatures.
This new strategy will begin a new era aimed at expanding the mythical collaboration between Pokemon and McDonald's more globally for our greatest pleasure!
A highly anticipated arrival in France and throughout Europe
This is a great first! The McDonald's Collection 2015 series finally arrives in France and it was a hit! Although the cards from previous editions were already available in French (but only in Quebec), distributing them for the first time in Europe will make pocket monster hunting much easier for collectors back home. This series was released on October 14, 2015 in France and November 27, 2015 in North America. It included a total of 12 cards and 4 miniatures.
The 2016 collection will also be entitled to some strategic changes from the two giants. Given the great success of the Pokemon x McDonald's collaboration in France, other European countries will also be able to have their TCG cards in their McDonald's stores. Thus, the McDonald's Collection 2016 series released on August 19, 2016 will be available in many more countries such as England, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. in addition to North America and France. .
The machine is launched, Pokemon and McDonald's have finally found the perfect strategy to sell their TCG cards and their Happy Meal. It took a total of 14 years to find the miracle recipe, but the success is there and this collaboration will still have many good years ahead of it (even if Japan has been taken out of the equation).
Macdonald's 25th anniversary collection during the Pokemon hype
After a year 2020 without new collections due to the health crisis, 2021 will be a special year for collectors of the Japanese TCG license. Indeed it marks the 25th anniversary of Pokémon and many products, video games will be released to celebrate the anniversary of the yellow electric mouse license. The celebration TCG displays will be there as well as Pokémon Go events or a remake of the 4th generation (Diamond and Pearl) requested by fans for years.
In addition, this year will be quite special given that a great hype will have affected license products (resulting in very significant stock shortages and the rise in the value of TCG cards).
While it's fantastic to see the whole world turn to the card games of our childhood, this hype will have caused many problems for serious collectors: die-hard buyers will rob stores around the world. sole purpose of reselling the cards from behind which will break the joyful and childish side of the license in favor of money. The 2021 McDonald's collection will unfortunately not escape this and many overflows from buyers will take place: store robbed, cards stolen, out of stock on Happy Meals (although they are supposed to be intended for a more young) and food waste (most shoppers will only be after the cards and many of them will even throw away their menus).
Unfortunately, there will be no response from Pokemon in order to combat these overflows, which will plunge the 2021 promotional campaign into chaos, darkening the image of a childish license and that will ask fans about the future of this legendary collaboration.
And what happens to Japan in this story?
Sidelined since 2012, Japan will turn to other brands to offer Pokémon collaborations. The Konbini (Japanese convenience store open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) will offer many collaborations with sometimes exclusive promo cards or even boxes during special events (such as the KOKO Box Set to promote the last Pokémon movie in the Japanese 7-Eleven). Yoshinoya, one of the leaders of Japanese fast food (specializing in gyudon: bowl of rice covered with strips of beef) will be entitled to numerous promotional campaigns dedicated to Pokemon (however the objects offered will mostly be figurines ).
Japan also has the very famous Pokemon Center, a mythical place for all fans of the license, offering from time to time exclusive promotional cards like the very recent Pikachu Yu Nagaba, or the Pikachu Kanazawa cards and its box.
The Japanese version of the TCG cards will therefore do very well without the help of the American restaurant giant, to the delight of fans.
Although it is quite difficult for us, French expatriate fans of the Japanese license, not to have our cards at McDonald's like everyone else, the recent events linked to excesses on the part of buyers show that restaurateurs may not be ready to take on a collaboration that has become so powerful. We therefore hope that Pokémon will find a solution to this (such as for example limiting one booster per person to avoid any abuse, which is the case here in Japan when buying a promotional product ).
We are also very happy to have more establishments offering this kind of event (for the most part more interesting on Japanese territory) which makes it possible to differentiate the TCG of Japan from the rest of the world.
Anyway, we hope you enjoyed reading this article. Do not hesitate to ask a comment if you have any questions on the subject so that we can answer you! You can also visit our shop to discover the many promotional card available in Japan!
If like us you are an expatriate, but in the United States, we have opened the possibility for our American friends to also discover Japanese pokemon cards and not only, with our new site nippon-mania.com!