McDonalds to replace Happy Meal toy with book-‘ba da ba ba baa, I’m lovin’ it’
McDonalds has long been criticised for offering free toys in its meals to entice children, but the fast food chain looks set to redeem itself as it prepares to offer books as a free gift with its Happy Meals instead.
Following a successful pilot in 2012, the fast food chain, over the next two years, expects to hand out at least 15 million fiction and non-fiction books to families across the UK who purchase a Happy Meal.
While obesity campaigners may claim that McDonalds is using the offer of the free books as a clever marketing tool, at least it could be said that the chain is using its popularity to encourage and hopefully increase the take-up of reading among children.
Just last year, a survey by the National Literacy Trust, which is backing the campaign, revealed one in three children don’t own a book, with children from disadvantaged homes eligible for free school meals more likely not to have any books at home.
Of those children who reported not having any books at home, 37 per cent read below or at the level expected for their age.
It will be interesting to see whether similar initiatives are adopted by McDonalds in the United States which, according to research, is ranked 14th out of 34 countries in reading tests.