Beginning November 1, McDonald's will hold the plastic toys in Happy Meals in favor of paperback children's books. The promotion lasts two weeks only, but the company says it has plans to continue book distribution for years to come, so expect more adventures from Deana the Dino to come. The free books are timed to coincide with National Literacy Day, following a similar program launched in the U.K. in January. But are the books just a distraction?
More than just sending wholesome messages through subversive branding, the storybooks may be further diverting attention from the handy little loophole McDonald's has created for its allegedly healthy children's menu: Despite all the publicity surrounding McDonald's recent promise to "only promote and market water, milk and juice as beverages in Happy Meals on menu boards and in-store and external advertising," the fine print states that, in fact, McDonald's “may list soft drinks as [sic] offering on [sic] Happy Meal section of menu boards.” Neither Doddi the Dodo nor the Goat Who Ate Everything is cool with that.
Brain Food: McDonald's to Push Kids' Books in Happy Meals [AdAge]
McBait and switch: McDonald’s health pledge contradicted by the fine print [The Hill]