McDonald’s Happy Meals are starting to include books in place of traditional toys and several advocacy groups have taken issue with the decision. Corporate Accountability International has attacked the fast food chains shift to books, claiming that officials are “trying to earn undeserved goodwill from the growing number of parents and health advocates who are calling on them to stop marketing to kids.”
The Illinois based fast-food giant says it will put more than 20 million books inside Happy Meals, while providing an additional 100,000 books to the literacy non-profit Reading is Fundamental.
The McDonald’s four-book giveaway will debut on November 1 to correspond with National Family Literacy Day. The program will last for two weeks.
Last month McDonald’s announced plans to introduce more fruits and vegetables on its menu in 2014.
The fast food giant earned $1.4 billion in Q2 earnings, up from $1.35 billion one year earlier, but still below analyst expectations.
Corporate Accountability International is no stranger to McDonald’s campaigning. In May the group brought a nine-year old girl to a shareholder meeting to scold CEO Don Thompson.
Campaign director Sara Deon tells ABC News, “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.”
Will McDonald’s fold to pressure and stop the program? According to officials the Happy Meal Books program is already being planned for 2015. McDonald’s is also planning an interactive digital book each month through 2014. Those interactive books will be available through McPlay, the free Happy Meal app that is offered by the fast food giant.
Parents already regularly take their children to McDonald’s, perhaps offering those kids some education materials won’t be the worst thing in the world, then again only time will tell.
Do you have a problem with the McDonald’s Happy Meal books program?