Since 1996, Nintendo has been doing quite well for itself with Pokemon, one of the most successful video game franchises in the world. All of the Pokemon characters have been merchandised in one form or another, including books, trading cards, and toys. Fast-food chain Burger King decided to get into the act, releasing its own set of miniature Pokemon toys in a multimillion-dollar 1999 promotion.
The toys were extracted from spherical “Poke Ball” containers and put in children’s meal boxes. The promotion was so successful that 10 days into its eight-week run, Burger King was forced to run full-page advertisements in major metropolitan newspapers to apologize for running out of the toys.
In December 1999, horrified parents learned that the two halves of the Poke Ball were the perfect size to pose a suffocation risk. Burger King agreed to a voluntary recall, and parents were told to confiscate the toys from their kids and return them to the restaurant. In return, they received one small order of french fries.