McDonald's is getting into the children's book publishing business. It is launching Happy Meals Books and will distribute books with its Happy Meals during the first two weeks of November. There are 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. and is expected to distribute 20 million copies of four original book titles during the promotion. The books can only be found at McDonald's.
The characters and stories in the four books were created by
Leo Burnett, the ad agency that works on marketing to families. The books are focused on a nutritional message with titles such as
The Goat Who Ate Everything, Deana's Big Dreams, Ant, Can't
and Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando
. We don't understand why the company didn't just hire some great children's authors to write the books. Who wants to read about nutrition, anyway? Why can't the books just have great stories written by actual authors who know what they're doing? After all, if serious authors are willing to write in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, surely they would be willing to write some original content for McDonald's? Even Oprah would be hard pressed to sell 20 million books in two weeks.
The accompanying ebooks promotion sounds a bit more promising. The two year effort is in conjunction with DK. There will be interactive ebooks in 2014 and the Happy Meals Books in 2015 will be by DK. Books featured will include DK's
Amazing World Series, beginning with The World's Greatest Cities
. The ebooks are available free through the Happy Meal mobile app, McPlay
as well as on HappyMeal.com and in Spanish on MeEncanta.com. This promotion is pretty brilliant, we have to say. The ad firm earned its money on this one. What parent wouldn't like their kid to get a free DK book with their healthier version Happy Meal?