McDonald's to offer £1 deal on 15m books

McDonald's has launched a two-year children’s books campaign, committing to "hand out more than 15 million books by the end of 2014” through a £1 book offer on its Happy Meal boxes.

The "Happy Readers" offer, which has the backing of the National Literacy Trust, enables customers to buy books for £1, with a token redeemable on selected books at W H Smith. The offer will be featured on Happy Meal boxes until the end of 2014.

The scheme will kick off with a five-week promotion involving DK's Amazing World series. One of six titles in the non-fiction series will be given away with each Happy Meal sold from 9th January to 12th February.

McDonald's said it will partner with other publishers over the two-year period, with the £1 books to be connected to its other Happy Meal promotions.

The campaign follows a four-week pilot held at the beginning of 2012 which saw Happy Meal customers receive copies of the Mudpuddle Farm series by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins Childrens Books). According to the restaurant chain, after the trial, nine out of 10 parents said they would like to see it do more book promotions.

McDonald's vice-president of marketing Alistair Macrow said: "We're excited to 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. Our restaurants are designed to be colourful, exciting places that children and their parents come to for a treat and we're looking forward to books becoming a part of that family experience."

National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said the organisation was backing the campaign. "We are delighted that McDonald's is extending its commitment to giving families access to quality, affordable books," he said. "Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life so it is very concerning that one in three children in the UK don't own a book and half of kids don't really enjoy reading... With its scale and ability to reach people all across the UK, McDonald's commitment to books has the potential to make a real difference."