McDonald’s to give away 15m children’s books with burgers

By: Janey Davies on Jan 9, 2013. Topics:

McDonalds are set to serve up books along with their Happy meals this year, after a pilot campaign in 2012 successfully delivered 9 million Michael Morpurgo books. The campaign is being backed by the National Literacy Trust and McDonalds state that they are committed to donating 15 million books with their Happy Meals from 2013 for the next two years.

The literary campaign for 2013 follows the pilot set out in the UK last year, where McDonalds gave away 9 million books, all by the writer Michael Morpurgo, the celebrated author who wrote, amongst other well known titles – War Horse, and now McDonalds say that they are fully committed to this new longer term campaign.

Copyright: Graeme Robertson

Copyright: Graeme Robertson

McDonalds say that by the end of 2014, the 1,200-restaurant chain want to have handed out at least 15m fiction and non-fiction books to families in the UK, and they have started their campaign today, with a five-week promotion in which a non-fiction book from DK’s “Amazing World” series will be given away with every children’s meal. The books cover topics including stars and planets, big cats and oceans.

As well as the free book give away with the Happy Meals deal, McDonald’s said it would also launch new “Happy Readers” £1 book offers, which parents can redeem at WHSmith. McDonalds are hoping that their fast food chains will prove to be more child friendly and “lend its family-friendly restaurant environment and its focus on family fun to encouraging parents and children to enjoy books together”. As well as DK, it will work with other publishers throughout the next two years on its promotions.

Alistair Macrow, McDonald’s vice president, said that was down to the feedback about its book giveaway pilot that had been “overwhelmingly positive”, and that nine out of 10 parents wanted to see more book promotions from the fast food chain following the Morpurgo launch last year, that had led to the new long term campaign for 2013 going ahead. “I’ve been surprised by statistics [from the National Literacy Trust] that show that one in three children don’t own a book, and that half don’t enjoy reading,” he said. “This is a real opportunity for us to help shift the balance and put the fun back into reading.”

Conal Presho, head of development at the National Literacy Trust, said that McDonald’s initiative would “make a massive difference” to the number of children owning books in the UK. The NLT’s research shows there is a clear link between book ownership and children’s future success in life.

“When children own their own books, it makes a huge difference to their reading,” Presho said. “This is a real opportunity to spark conversations, and is really positive. McDonald’s is a company with huge reach across the UK.”

Presho said that the NLT’s focus “was not on the food side, but on getting books into kids’ hands … Our focus is on using any way we can to encourage children to read, and to read anything they can, whether that’s menus in restaurants, non-fiction books or magazines – anything which spreads children’s enjoyment of reading,” he said.

Source: The Guardian

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