McDonald's Hello Kitty promotion (2000)

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The Dear Daniel and Hello Kitty Chinese Wedding set that was the last pair to be released. Photo from Yahoo! Auctions.

On 1 January 2000, McDonald’s launched a 40-day Wedding Design Hello Kitty stuffed toy promotion. The stuffed toy set featured Hello Kitty and her boyfriend, Dear Daniel, in various ethnic wedding costumes. The popularity of the Hello Kitty stuffed toys generated some problems ranging from traffic jams to disorderly behaviour.[1]

Details of promotion[edit | edit source]

A newspaper clipping summing up the popularity of the Hello Kitty Wedding sets in Singapore.

McDonald’s opened its first outlet in Singapore at Liat Towers in 1979. The franchise quickly expanded to 113 outlets islandwide by 2000. In a newspaper report, the marketing director of McDonald's explained that the Hello Kitty promotion had been launched in order to express gratitude towards customers for their patronage over the years.[2]


In order to obtain a Wedding Design Hello Kitty set, patrons had to purchase an Extra Value Meal and pay an additional S$4.50 for each Hello Kitty set. Initially, there was no limit on the number of Hello Kitty sets a patron is able to purchase in one transaction.[3] Starting from 1 January 2000, the sets were released weekly every Thursday in the following order:[4]

Release date Hello Kitty Wedding Set Details
1 January 2000 Millenium Wedding Sold out islandwide in 3 days
6 January 2000 Malay Wedding Sold out islandwide in 2 days. The Malay wedding set had been strategically been released during Hari Raya.[5]
13 January 2000 Korean Wedding Sold out islandwide in 1 day
20 January 2000 Romantic Wedding Sold out islandwide in 1 day
27 January 2000 Japanese Wedding Sold out islandwide in half a day
3 February 2000 Chinese Wedding The sale of the Chinese wedding set used a voucher system in an effort to combat the queues.

In an interview with The Straits Times published on 2 February 2000, McDonald’s clarified that 400,000 stuffed toys of each set were produced and that on average, each store in Singapore had 2,000 of each set in stock.[6]

Public reception[edit | edit source]

Hello Kitty "craze"[edit | edit source]

A photograph depicting the queue outside a McDonald's branch on 6 January 2000.

A report by McDonald’s on 2 January 2000 indicated that an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 people queued for the promotion islandwide.[7] According to a McDonald's spokesman, the exclusivity of the Wedding Design Hello Kitty sets meant that they had a high resale value. Based on their estimate, the complete line of the stuffed toys could have fetched as much as S$980 at the time.[8]


However, some Singaporeans were adversely affected by the popularity of the promotion. As a great number of McDonald's outlets were located in or near housing estates, the long queues that spanned throughout the night created noise disturbances for those living around the area. Other inconveniences included the large amounts of litter left in the area.[9]


On 27 January 2000, the Ministry of Environment responded to this issue.15 individuals were fined for littering and McDonald’s was instructed to conduct a thorough clean-up at all its outlets. The Ministry of Environment also suggested that McDonald’s provided more litter bins at its outlets during the next release of the Wedding Design Hello Kitty sets.[10]

Noteworthy incidents[edit | edit source]

Traffic jams[edit | edit source]

On 13 January 2000, a traffic jam had been caused by the massive number of drivers queueing up at the King Albert Park McDonald’s drive-thru.[11] The traffic jam spanned from Bukit Timah Road to Bukit Panjang Road and the congestion was so severe that the traffic police had to step in. The East Coast Parkway McDonald's drive-thru outlet had also reportedly caused traffic congestion.[12]

Disorderly behaviour[edit | edit source]

On 1 January 2000, during the release of the Millenium Wedding Hello Kitty set, a fight broke out between a doctor and a lorry driver at the McDonald’s outlet in Boon Lay Place.[13]


On 13 January 2000, the release of the Korean Wedding Hello Kitty set resulted in the shattering of a glass door at the McDonald’s Block 22 Boon Keng outlet.[14] It had not been able to withstand the weight of the people pushing against it. At least 7 people were injured, in which 3 men were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for outpatient treatment and 4 others suffered minor injuries. When SCDF officers reached the scene, they found the 3 men bleeding from multiple cuts on their foreheads and bodies.


On 27 January 2000, the release of the Japanese Wedding Hello Kitty set caused a riot at the McDonald’s Bangkit Road outlet in Bukit Panjang at around 4.30am.[15] 3 men were arrested for disorderly behaviour as they had thrown stools at the police officers. On the same day, 3 other men were arrested for disorderly behaviour at the following McDonald’s outlets - Block 632 Bedok Reservoir Road, Lion City Hotel complex, and Lot 1 Shopper’s Mall in Choa Chu Kang.[16]

McDonald’s response[edit | edit source]

In light of the incidents brought forth by the promotion, McDonald’s implemented new regulations to better manage the situation. In order to address the food wastage concerns,[17] McDonald’s made charity option forms available for patrons who wanted to donate their meals.[18]


From 14 Jan 2000, McDonald’s altered its promotion so that one customer can only purchase up to 4 stuffed toys. CISCO security officers were also stationed at all 113 outlets from 20 Jan 2000 onwards. McDonald’s also stopped selling the toys at its drive-thru counters to prevent traffic jams.[19] Certain outlets, such as Singapore Turf Club, Chinatown Point and Clementi also stopped selling the Wedding Design Hello Kitty sets from 25 January 2000 onwards.[20]


On 1 February 2000, McDonald’s announced that a voucher system would be used for the sale of the final Wedding Design Hello Kitty set, the Chinese Wedding set. From 3 February 2000 to 19 February 2000, any purchase of two Extra Value Meals entitled the customer to add on S$9 for the voucher.[21] Customers were allowed to purchase as many vouchers as they wished, however, the toys could only be collected in July 2000.

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Chong, Chee Kin. “Seven hurt in rush for Hello Kitty Toys”. The Straits Times. January 14, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  2. John, Alan. “Hello Kitty? Then, goodbye, golden arches”. The Straits Times. January 19, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  3. “Buy for charity’s kitty”. The New Paper. December 30, 1999. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  4. “Hello! Now you don’t have to queue for Kitty dolls”. The New Paper. February 2, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  5. Wee, Lea. Lee, Lynn. “Hello, what’s fuss all about?”. The Straits Times. January 16 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  6. “McDonald’s explains its moves”. The Straits Times. February 2, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  7. “McDonald’s explains its moves”. The Straits Times. February 2, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  8. Wee, Lea. Lee, Lynn. “Hello, what’s fuss all about?”. The Straits Times. January 16 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  9. Lim, Trudy. “Cute cat, ugly S’porean”. The New Paper. January 27, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  10. Teo, Laurel. Tshering, Palden. “6 held as Hello Kitty queues turn ugly”. The Straits Times. January 28, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  11. Hong, X. “Dear Miss Kitty I’m angry. I’m fed-up.”. The New Paper. January 14, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  12. Hong, X. “Dear Miss Kitty I’m angry. I’m fed-up.”. The New Paper. January 14, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  13. “Toy riot in Singapore burger joint”. BBC. January 14, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/603932.stm
  14. Chong, Chee Kin. “Seven hurt in rush for Hello Kitty Toys”. The Straits Times. January 14, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  15. Teo, Laurel. Tshering, Palden. “6 held as Hello Kitty queues turn ugly”. The Straits Times. January 28, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  16. Teo, Laurel. Tshering, Palden. “6 held as Hello Kitty queues turn ugly”. The Straits Times. January 28, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  17. Santa Maria, S. “Long queues for cutie Kitty collectibles”. The New Paper. January 7, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. Wee, Lea. Lee, Lynn. “Hello, what’s fuss all about?” The Straits Times. January 16 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  19. John, Alan. “Hello Kitty? Then, goodbye, golden arches”. The Straits Times. January 19, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  20. Koh, B.P. “Kitty mania rages on”. The Straits Times. January 21, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  21. “Hello Kitty, goodbye unruly queues”. The Straits Times. February 4, 2000. Accessed on 29 January 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.