McDonald’s Happy Meal Books: ‘It’s Tricking Kids’ Says CAI

As of next month, McDonald’s Happy Meals will include not only the usual burger, fries, and soft drink, but also a book. As part of a promotion, a massive 20 million books in all will be given away with the meals.

The giveaway, which will run from November 1-14, will feature a special McDonald’s Happy Meal character. McDonald’s say in a press release that it “brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a fun way.”

Along with the Madonald’s Happy Meal books promotion, the company is developing a series of custom e-books which will be accessible through the new McPlay Happy Meal App.

The happy meal books will feature four characters, telling four different and engaging stories. They are: The Goat Who Ate Everything, Deana’s Big Dreams, Ant, Can’t and Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando.

But not everyone is thrilled with the idea of the new McDonald’s giveaway. The well-known advocacy group, Corporate Accountability International (CAI) said the fast food chain is being unscrupulous in its latest promotion. They said that McDonald’s were: “trying to earn undeserved goodwill from the growing number of parents and health advocates who are calling on them to stop marketing to kids.”

Sara Deon from CAI released the following statement about the new promotion:

“By associating the brand with a message of healthy eating, it’s tricking kids and parents into thinking that McDonald’s has their best interests in mind,” she said. “This move is clearly a reaction to growing pressure from parents and health professionals around the impact its marketing is having on kids – driving an epidemic of diet-related disease. This is not the change parents and health professionals have been demanding.”

What do you think of the new McDonald’s Happy Meal books promotion? Do you think it is a good thing that if parents are going to buy Happy Meals for their kids they might as well get some educational value from it? Or is it just a ploy to keep the attention of a waning market? Sound off in the feed below.