There's a winner in the McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) Monopoly game. And I wasn't it.

Yes, the tears are welling in my eyes, threatening to overflow and trace contrails down the sides of my cheeks. Well, I exaggerate of course, but hey...a million may not be what it was in the past (what with inflation and all), but darn it, as someone once said, it'll never be pocket change.

But beyond my Kermit-colored envy, I have to say that McDonald's should get some high marks for this promotional initiative. It really is smart, and it shows a valiant attempt by Ronald and the gang at defending shareholder value. People have many fast-food choices, whether it's Burger King, Wendy's (NYSE:WEN), or one of the Yum! (NYSE:YUM) brands. There's no question that consumers of this category of grub see the Monopoly promo as a clear point of differentiation; look around you, ask your friends. They love it. They just do.

I do as well. My favorite part is the Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) bucks. Guaranteed to win a dollar on each one of those stickers. Sure, you might win more, but last year I just collected as many dollar ones as I could and used it to defray the costs of a Christmas gift. Served me well (and served the retailer well, too).

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is getting some exposure too, as Xbox units are part of the portfolio of prizes that you can win. Perhaps one of the biggest beneficiaries is Hasbro (NYSE:HAS), which of course is behind the iconic game that has inculcated the phrase "do not pass go" into the cultural lexicon. Hasbro just loves this, as it introduces over and over again the board game that should never die (how fitting that Bill Gates' company is associated with this game).

Still, the top winner here is McDonald's. I bounce around among all the fast-food concerns when I am in the mood for some fattening material. I'll go to one place one week, another the next; this is probably typical of most. I do find that this Monopoly game exerts a pull on me with the strength of a singularity's gravitational horizon, and I would imagine that it will be a driver for the quarter. And although I am still not a millionaire, I would do well to re-read one of my favorite Fool articles on using the stock market to become a millionaire, courtesy of the very wise Rich Smith; his treatise on the power of doubles is always compelling. There's hope for me yet, then.

And you.

Be sure to check out Alyce Lomax's Foolish perspective on last year's Monopoly game.

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned.