Budding bibliophiles, behold: McDonald’s is (temporarily) ditching its plastic Happy Meal toys for children’s books.
This is the third year the fast-food chain is partnering with HarperCollins and the literacy nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental to reach children who might
not otherwise have access to books. The campaign runs through Feb. 15.
“With two-thirds of children living in poverty without books, McDonald’s is helping to provide critical access to books to inspire children to read,” RIF’s
CEO Carol H. Rasco said in a post on
To draw further attention to the cause, McDonald's has donated an additional 100,000 books to the nonprofit this year. The Los Angeles Times reports
that the brand’s donations will near 50 million books by the end of 2016’s giveaway.
Here’s more from Rasco’s post on Medium:
Nearly 65 percent of fourth-graders read at or below the basic level. And more than 75 percent of children who are poor readers by the end of third grade
remain poor readers and ultimately fall behind in school.
To help fix this we must get books into more young readers’ hands. Numerous studies confirmed the number of books in a home directly predicts a child’s
proficiency at reading. In fact, a child who grows up with books in his or her home reaches a higher level of education than those who do not.
Three of the four petite paperbacks offered in this year’s book offering have a Valentine’s Day theme. They are: “Paddington,” “ Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool,” “Clark the Shark Takes Heart,” and “Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!”
Numerous literacy advocacy groups praised and promoted the RIF/McDonald’s partnership on Twitter:
McDonald’s marketers also took to social media to tease the relaunch, sending personalized tweets to parents who praised the campaign in previous years:
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Although some Twitter users expressed skepticism, the bulk of the reaction online favors the move:
In previous attempts to improve the brand's image, McDonald's launched an online transparency campaign
and committed to using eggs from only cage-free
hens in its breakfast items.
What do you think? How would you rate the fast-food giant’s latest effort to boost its image? What other offerings might it sub in for the toys?