McDonald’s smashes books target inspiring 22 million Happy Readers in two years

11 December 2014

15 million book target exceeded by 7 million as part of campaign to put fiction and non-fiction titles into the hands of UK familiesMcDonald’s UK today announced that it has handed out 22.7 million popular books over the past two years, far exceeding its pledge to put 15 million books into the hands of families by the end of 2014 and to help make reading fun.

Announced in January 2013, McDonald’s ‘Happy Readers’ campaign was launched in response to research showing that one in three children don’t own a book and only half of children enjoy reading1. Partner organisations including the National Literacy Trust, WH Smith and Kobo, have helped McDonald’s give away some of the UK’s best-loved family reads with Happy Meals. From DK Books’ Amazing World non-fiction series, to bestselling books by top children’s authors including Enid Blyton, families around the UK have received a range of fiction and non-fiction titles through the programme.

In April this year, a five-week partnership with e-book provider Kobo offering families the chance to download a free Secret Seven book with every Happy Meal, was particularly successful. The partnership introduced younger readers to the adventures of Peter, Janet and their friends in the Secret Seven Society, which first hit UK shelves back in the 1940s. Families can now download a free e-book from Kobo with every Happy Meal promotion.

WH Smith and Eason support the campaign by offering ‘Happy Readers’ £1 book offers every day of the year.  The vouchers displayed on Happy Meal boxes can be redeemed for a range of family favourites including the Smurfs series and How to Train Your Dragon, the chart-topping children’s classic by Cressida Cowell.

A set of exclusive National Literacy Trust ‘Reading Tips’ features in every book being offered through the programme and the Trust also employ their expertise to advise on suitable books for the promotions.

The ‘Happy Readers’ campaign marks the latest move to evolve Happy Meals in line with what parents are looking for when they visit McDonald’s.  Following a promotion giving away copies of Mudpuddle Farm by Michael Morpurgo in 2012, nine out of 10 parents said they’d like to see more book promotions from McDonald's.

Alistair Macrow, Senior Vice President of Marketing, McDonald’s UK, said:
“Our restaurants have always been a colourful and exciting place for families to visit, and two years ago we realised we could leverage our scale, our partnerships and our presence in communities across the country to help millions of mums, dads and children find the fun in reading.  Reading is something families continue to love doing together, and Happy Readers has really struck a chord.  I’m delighted we’ve been able to put more than 22 million books in to the hands of families around the UK.  It’s a fantastic achievement and something we will remain committed to in the future.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust, added:
“We are delighted that McDonald’s has handed out 22 million quality, affordable books to families. Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life so initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive activity.”

1. Only 50% of children enjoy reading ‘very much’ or ‘quite a lot’. National Literacy Trust; September 2012.

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