Web Takes Big Bite Out of Happy Meals Reboot


The announcement from McDonald's that it is adding apple slices and other kinds of produce to its Happy Meals and reducing the portion of French fries has produced a predictable amount of scorn on the Web. News sites and commenters have responded with sarcasm and skepticism, which McDonald's must have expected.

Yet McDonald's had little choice in reconfiguring its Happy Meals. It was under pressure from advocacy groups to focus more on nutrition, particularly with its products that are marketed at children. McDonald's has also faced some citywide bans on using toys as incentives to sell Happy Meals.

The company's press statement makes it clear that it intends to listen well to criticism of its food products and their effect on childhood obesity. Yes, this reboot of the Happy Meal has gone viral and sets up fast food in general as an easy target for jokes, but it's a classic case of outreach that cannot be bought.

There is no downside for McDonald's, really. From a health perspective, most kids will toss the apples aside, but they'll have fewer French fries to eat. And from a branding perspective, McDonald's has emerged as a company that considers its customers—and obesity advocacy groups—to be stakeholders instead of mere consumers.

Sheila Consaul, director, communication strategies, for technology resource company BRTRC, says the announcement itself and the actual change to Happy Meals is only going to benefit McDonald's, its customers, reputation and sales.

"This change shows McDonald's is listening to the experts—i.e. that they need to do something about the content of Happy Meals in order to positively impact children’s health—while still providing a multitude of choices for parents," says Consaul, who wrote about crisis communications in the latest edition of PR News' Media Training Guidebook. "Choice is really what’s going to drive better eating habits, not necessarily the specific food content of a Happy Meal."



@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }div.Section1 { page: Section1;




Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Media Relations Conference

 media_relations_banners_180x150_ep

Join us on December 11, 2014, for PR News’ essential Media Relations Conference, taking place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. You'll learn from top PR professionals how to amplify your organization’s messages through positive coverage in traditional media and through your own branded content initiatives.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook


book-mediarelations-180x150

This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.