Why is McDonald's selling Shamrock Shakes in Philly right now?

Bethany Ao, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphians watching the Eagles' season opener on TV had a reason other than Carson Wentz to rejoice on Sunday: A McDonald's commercial announced that Shamrock Shakes -- the chain's mint-flavored St. Patrick's Day milkshake -- would be available in Philly for a limited time.

"It's a Philly original that's ready to rock the tastebuds of Eagles fans across Philly," the announcer narrated. "Fly to get yours today."

Footballs fans and milkshake fans celebrated together online.

The shake will be sold at McDonald's in the city through Oct. 18. And while the overwhelming sentiment on social media was jubilant or envious, some did express bewilderment.

The most obvious connection between the jade-colored treat and the Eagles being the color green, some wondered why Jets or Packers fans weren't getting a St. Patrick's Day gift in September.

In fact, the Eagles and the Shamrock Shake -- while not actually minted in Philly -- go way back, to 1974.


It was then that Eagles general manager Jimmy Murray collaborated with Dr. Audrey Evans, an oncologist at the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, on providing young cancer patients and their families a place to stay while undergoing treatment.

The Eagles had been fundraising to help pediatric cancer patients since 1972, when tight end Fred Hill -- whose daughter, Kim, had been diagnosed with leukemia -- and a neighbor started the charity Eagles Fly for Leukemia. With support from then-Eagles owner Leonard Tose and Eagles players, they had managed to raise enough to help complete the oncology wing at CHOP's new home on Penn's campus (it moved from Center City).

But in 1974, Murray and Evans turned their attention to getting a house for cancer patients' families, a project that would require more money.

So Murray, a Philly native, called up a friend at an ad agency representing the area's McDonald's to see what they could work out. It happened to be around the time that the Shamrock Shake -- then a four-year-old promotion without much of a following -- was about to hit the market. Murray asked if local owners would be willing to donate 25 cents of every shake sold to the house effort.


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