I recognize those! They're pins for retail store employees during product launch events. I have one from a 2001 BIONICLE Launch Event package that I procured from another AFOL a couple years back. These event kits were originally sent out to various retailers and contained lots those badges, a Kanohi mask grab box and some pretty nifty cardboard cut-outs like this one:
(this counts as an "obscure BIONICLE product", right?)
Maybe it was designed first?
It's a piece of '08 promo art that I've personally seen before (though I can't put my finger on exactly where though). It's viewable in the BioMediaProject's archive.
LEGO isn't against producing highly specialized moulds for their limited-run Collectible Minifigures series. I think that the problem lies with the choking hazard standards Happy Meal toys have to adhere to (I imagine they've gotten more strict in the 15+ years since the McToran).