For the next two weeks, McDonald's is conducting a social experiment to see how many hissy fits it can cause by giving out a book as the Happy Meal prize. Starting Tuesday and running through February 15, children will open the box and find one of five miniaturize-size paperback books — a partnership with Reading Is Fundamental. The titles are mostly Valentine's Daythemed: Clark the Shark Takes Heart, something called Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!, another called Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool, and then the Michael Bond classic Paddington. As a little bit of trivia, this marks the third time since 2013 that McDonald's has tried passing off reading material as Happy Meal toys, and according to the Los Angeles Times, by the time the current giveaway ends the chain will have distributed more than 50 million children's books.
Saying no to cussing Minions toys is one thing, but parents will feel considerably more horrible telling their kids they can't have a free educational book, so this strategy could be masterful. Either way, a full-court press is already being mounted by McDonald's PR team to pressure mommy bloggers into promoting the books:
@jenngaffney We're so happy your family enjoyed last year's Happy Meal books. We have a little surprise if you could please send us a DM :)— McDonald's (@McDonalds) February 1, 2016
@ybruzual Hi again, Ybeth! We remembered how much you were lovin' the books in our Happy Meals. Mind DMing us for a surprise?— McDonald's (@McDonalds) February 1, 2016