By Marty Malone
McDonald’s is launching a national TV campaign next week that will focus on the company’s Happy Meal product, according to Ad Age.
The campaign will focus on the Happy Meal’s new healthy options, part of an overall company shift towards offering more healthy choices. In addition to airing spots about the Happy Meal’s new produce and low-fat dairy options, McDonald’s also pledged to, “‘promote nutrition and/or active lifestyle messages in 100 percent of its national kids’ communications, including merchandising, advertising, digital and the Happy Meal packaging.'”
No word on whether Ronald McDonald will be making any appearances in the new marketing push, but sources familiar with the matter have said new characters will be introduced.
Happy Meals have been a sore point for the restaurant, with many critics citing them as a contribution to increased childhood obesity. With growing concern over the matter, McDonald’s began tweaking its Happy Meal last fall, with the addition of apple slices and fewer French fries. The result, according to the company, will be a 20% reduction in calories and also reduced fat throughout the different Happy Meal offerings.
Critics will have a very close eye on the new advertisements. McDonald’s has been in hot water plenty of times over their Ronald McDonald character, as well as marketing Happy Meal toys to kids. In December 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action suit against the restaurant hoping to stop the use of toys in direct marketing to children.
Cities such as San Francisco went as far as to ban restaurants from giving away toys with kids’ meals. McDonald’s got around that by offering its toys for purchase. The new marketing campaign was created by Leo Burnett in Chicago.