And the promotion was already proving to be a resounding success: Some Burger King restaurants were each selling 1,000 kids' meals a day. Numerous locations were inundated with crying, screaming children—frustrated parents in tow—after selling out of all their kids' meal supplies.
Brown went on NBC News' Today show that day to discuss the recall. Her goal, she recalls, was "to make a big splash."The date is important. Burger King had pushed out their own press release early, on December 27, a Sunday—a move that Brown believes was intended to try and fly the announcement under the radar."A Sunday is not a day when there is a lot of press about something," she tells MUNCHIES. "I was clearly not pleased with that." The CPSC intended to do a joint press release with Burger King on December 29, allowing the organization enough time to develop a nationwide strategy.
"My own supposition is not factual," Brown says, "But it's that they didn't want so much horrible publicity. Burger King is a family restaurant; this was certainly not publicity they were looking for."
The warnings were printed everywhere: on tray liners, on carry-out items, and on fry bags. Burger King also bought commercial time on cable and network television to inform the public, and gave out an 800-number. Unfortunately, these efforts were not enough.
On Tuesday, January 25, 2000, almost a month after the recall began, four-month-old Zachary Jones was found dead in his crib in Indianapolis, Indiana. He, too, had been suffocated by a Pokéball. "It's hard to believe that you go get the kids something to eat and you bring home a lethal toy," Michael Jones, the boy's grandfather, told the Chicago Tribune. His death was the last one attributed to Burger King's Pokémon containers.The recall was largely considered a success; even Brown later praised Burger King for their efforts. The families of Kira Alexis Murphy and Zachary Jones later settled with Burger King and toy-maker Equity Marketing for undisclosed sums. Burger King did not respond to multiple requests for comment by phone and email for this story.