McDonald’s launches long-term campaign to inspire millions of Happy Readers

(9 January 2013) By the end of 2014, McDonald’s will have handed out at least 15 million fiction and non-fiction books to families across the UK. It will partner with publishers, retailers and other literacy organisations including the National Literacy Trust and WH Smith to achieve this goal.

Created in response to a successful pilot in 2012, following which nine out of 10 parents said they would like to see more book promotions from McDonald’s, the Happy Readers campaign will launch with a five-week nationwide promotion. During those five weeks, Happy Meal customers will be able to enjoy a series of non-fiction books from award-winning publisher DK’s ‘Amazing World’ series. The books, one of which will be included with every Happy Meal, will come with puzzles and stickers that bring to life topics including Stars and Planets, Big Cats and Oceans.

A key aim of the long-term Happy Readers campaign is also to encourage families to have fun reading together. With research from the National Literacy Trust showing that only half of children really enjoy reading, McDonald’s will lend its family-friendly restaurant environment and its focus on family fun to encouraging parents and children to enjoy books together. In addition to the books included in Happy Meals as part of nationwide promotions, new ‘Happy Readers’ book offers will be displayed prominently, 365 days a year, on its iconic Happy Meal boxes, for redemption at leading High Street retailer WH Smith.

Alistair Macrow, Vice President of Marketing, McDonald’s UK, said: “With 1,200 UK restaurants and eight out of ten families visiting us each year, we’re excited to leverage our scale, our partnerships and our presence in communities across the country to help millions of mums, dads and children find the fun in reading. Our restaurants are designed to be colourful, exciting places that children and their parents come to for a treat and we’re looking forward to books becoming a part of that family experience.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust, added: “We are delighted that McDonald’s is extending its commitment to giving families access to quality, affordable books. Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children’s future success in life so it is very concerning that one in three children in the UK don’t own a book and half of kids don’t really enjoy reading. Initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive pastime. With its scale and ability to reach people all across the UK, McDonald’s commitment to books has the potential to make a real difference.”

The McDonald’s DK book promotion will run from 9 January – 12 February 2013. It will include six titles from the DK Amazing World series: Oceans; Earth; Stars and Planets; Big Cats; Arctic and Antarctic; and Rainforest. Books will also be available to purchase in McDonald’s restaurants without the need to buy a Happy Meal.