McDonald's Attempt To Become An Educational Establishment…

For many of us, the occasional treat of dinner at McDonalds growing up was made amazing by the plastic holy grail of children’s toys – the McDonald’s free gift. However, from this week onwards, […]


For many of us, the occasional treat of dinner at McDonalds growing up was made amazing by the plastic holy grail of children’s toys – the McDonald’s free gift. However, from this week onwards, children will no longer feel that buzzing excitement in anticipation of which toy they will be receiving.  Instead, they will receive a book…which could actually be better described as a pamphlet.  

The EXCITING Tab Happy Meal...

The EXCITING Tab Happy Meal…

In an attempt to “improve children’s literacy rates”, McDonald’s have partnered with Dorling Kindersley and WH Smith to provide young children with a range of non-fiction books and the option of receiving book tokens for a discounted copy of the full book. This move has been met with enthusiasm by some parents, who see this as a brilliant way of encouraging young children to read and get interested in books.

However, on closer inspection this move may not be all that it seems. McDonald’s may be claiming that they are doing this to help children read, but it perhaps the true motive is simply to encourage parents to buy their children happy meals and keep coming back to collect the set.

This really is a riveting read...

This really is a riveting read…

Furthermore, the partnership with WH Smith looks set to add a mountain of pressure to already suffering independent book stores. Parents who want to buy the full book will only be able to do so from WH Smith, and considering that the sale of e-books is already crippling small, locally owned stores, the move could see McDonald’s personally ending the lives of many small bookstores.

Above the social and economic issues, another issue is the loss of heritage from our generation of childhood innocence toy-related fun. For most people, McDonald’s is a treat, somewhere to come occasionally and enjoy themselves (at least until you’re a student and looking for a hangover cure!). Happy meal consumers will now lose the joy of playing with a “rubbish” plastic toy for an hour.

Providing you with HOURS of fun!

Providing you with HOURS of fun!

Luckily, during our ‘extensive’ research, we discovered that there is still a beacon of hope, in the form of Burger King. As you can see, they are still offering a fantastically tacky toy to entertain you as you extend your crucial revision procrastination. Currently, they are offering a wide range of Garfield related toys. The Tab was lucky enough to get one that flings Garfield over our revision notes!

In all honesty, this seems to be yet another attempt by McDonald’s to make themselves look like something they are not. They need to stop running away from their contribution to the childhood obesity epidemic. McDonald’s food is crap and it always will be, but that is why people like it. The swap from chips to apple slices, coke to water and now toys to books will never be enough to make McDonald’s healthy. Perhaps then, they should simply embrace their public image as the “bad guy”.

Is this new idea an educational stroke of genius, or simply a marketing stunt? Leave your comments below!