McDonald’s Happy Reading campaign to boost literacy begins today

Written on:January 9, 2013
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McDonald's promotes book reading habit

McDonald’s aims to give away 15 million books by end of 2014

McDonald’s is all set to become UK’s largest children’s book distributor by launching a promotional campaign called Happy Readers for a two-year duration to giveaway books and encourage children to read as part of its Happy Meals marketing strategy. With the McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign, the fast-food chain aims to improve children’s literacy as well as bolster its brand reputation.

Starting today, the McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign is a a five-week promotion offering a series of non-fiction books from DK Books’s Amazing World series, including Stars and Planets, Big Cats and Oceans. By the end of 2014, the fast-food chain is expected to give out 15 million fiction and non-fiction books to Happy Meal eaters. The McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign offer also enables customers to redeem books at WH Smith, the high-street retailer.

The McDonald’s Happy Readers branding will appear on every Happy Meals box from this week alongside a voucher to buy another book for £1 at WH Smiths. McDonald’s said that it was running the campaign in the wake of alarming statistics revealed by National Literacy Trust (NLT), which conducted a survey on 21,000 young people in the UK. The results of the survey revealed that only 50% of children enjoy reading “very much” or “quite a lot”, and that one in three children don’t own a book.

Although, the restaurant chain intends to take up the initiative as a social responsibility, the McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign has attracted criticism from Children’s Food Campaign which called it an “inappropriate marketing strategy at a time when there is an epidemic of childhood obesity”.

The latest initiative by McDonald’s follows last year’s pilot where the fast-food chain gave away HarperCollins Mudpuddle Farm books as part of a Happy Meals promotion. McDonald’s conducted an internal research which found that nine in 10 parents wanted the chain to repeat the promotion.


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  1. kendelle says:

    inappropriate when epidemic of childhood obesity?! HA HA!! what do you think a child is more likely to beg their parent for-a toy whose brand name, movie, etc. is plastered all over nickelodeon and cartoon network or a book? if only 50% of children actually enjoy reading this is going to turn them off to happy meals if anything. i occassionally treat my daughter to a happy meal and i would much rather she get a book that we could enjoy together than some junk toy that i’m gonna throw away within the week. hmm…no cheap overhyped toys getting kids to mindlessly stuff their faces with greasy fryed food as an afterthought. there would also be the possibility that not only may a child pick up a book and find they enjoy reading, but that more parents may read a book with their child and realize they enjoy spending time with them.

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