McDonald's has been trying to undergo something of a rebranding over the past decade and in another step to change their image the company has expanded their Happy Meal Readers program to New Zealand. Via The Independent, when kids grab a Happy Meal, they won't get a toy like the fast food company usually hands out. Instead, they'll get an excerpt of one of Roald Dahl's famed stories.
The Happy Meal Readers program has been an ongoing initiative by the company, but this particular campaign will see them give out 800,000 abridged versions of some of Roald Dahl's most beloved books to Kiwi kids over the next month. The special editions will include Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka, Matilda, Fantabulous BFG, Lucky Charlie Bucket, Brave Little Sophie, and Marvellous Miss Honey and will also feature stickers and activities. Dahl has been a popular writer for decades so it seems like a smart move to connect a new generation of readers with his work--especially given the upcoming Netflix animated series adaptation of Dahl's works.
Through Happy Meal Readers, McDonald's has given away close to 450 million titles since it was first launched in 2001; the program is currently running in Sweden, Malaysia and New Zealand, but McDonald's aims to implement it in more countries going forward. It'll be interesting to see if the initiative makes its way to the United States and which books they'll use if it does. For example, the Malaysia Happy Meal Readers program offers Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon, so we wonder which series they'd use in the U.S.
It's an intriguing idea which seems to be making parents who take their kids to McDonald's very happy, and it's always good to see more children reading, no matter how they get their hands on those good old books.
Images: Disney, Amblin, Penguin Books, Paramount Pictures