McDonald’s, with 14,000 restaurants in the U.S., is poised to become a leading distributor of children’s books. It will insert 20 million copies of four original book titles into Happy Meals during the first two weeks of November, starting on National Literacy Day, November 1. In addition, McDonald’s will distribute 100,000 books through Reading is Fundamental.
The self-published Happy Meal Books, which will not be available for sale beyond the promotion, will feature characters and stories created by Leo Burnett, the advertising agency that handles the chain’s children’s and family marketing efforts. In keeping with the chain’s repositioning of its Happy Meals to focus on healthier foods, the books will incorporate a nutritional message. The first four titles are The Goat Who Ate Everything; Deana’s Big Dreams; Ant, Can’t; and Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando.
The initiative marks the start of a two-year publishing effort that will include interactive e-books throughout 2014 and another Happy Meal Books print effort in 2015. The e-books, produced in partnership with DK, will include the Amazing World Series, starting with The World’s Greatest Cities, and e-versions of the Happy Meal Books. The downloads will be available for free through McPlay, the company’s Happy Meal mobile app, as well as on HappyMeal.com and in Spanish on MeEncanta.com.