Industry News | November 15, 1999

Blind Child Reads “First Book” In McDonald’s Ad

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In a new McDonald's commercial, 6-year-old Hannah Weathered of Lima, Montana learns to read her first book, a natural achievement for anyone her age. What's unusual about the spot is that Hannah is blind and has learned to read her first book in Braille.

The spot, which will debut on network television Friday, November 12, culminates with a celebration at McDonald's where Hannah orders a Happy Meal from a special Braille menu.

"Through this new commercial we are proud to recognize customers like Hannah who in real life visit our restaurants and use our Braille menus," said Larry Zwain, senior vice president of U.S. Marketing for McDonald's. " It's important that our advertising connect our brand to our customers and the special moments in their lives."

Through the years, McDonald's commercials have featured real people in real situations including a McDonald's crew person with Down's syndrome and hearing impaired customers. Twenty years ago, McDonald's was the first quick-service restaurant to offer Braille menus at its restaurants nationwide. Today, with assistance from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), McDonald's continues to be the only quick-service restaurant to offer them nationally. The company also offers picture menus to assist customers who have speaking or reading difficulties.

"We commend McDonald's for its commitment to make eating at McDonald's restaurants fun and convenient for all its customers, including the nearly 10 million visually impaired Americans," said Carl Augusto, president of AFB. " I know that accessibility drives greater independence and encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to enjoy everyday life to the fullest."

"It is wonderful to see a company demonstrate this level of care for its customers, " said Jill Weathered, Hannah's mother. "Hannah loves to celebrate special moments at McDonald's—just like any other kid."

Produced by DDB Chicago and directed by Joe Pytka, the "First Book " commercial is a 30-second spot that debuts on NBC during the network TV show, Providence, and subsequently on ABC, CBS and NBC during network programming through November 25.

The search for Hannah was conducted with the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind which held a nationwide casting call to find the young child.

McDonald's is the world's largest global food service retailer, with more than 25,000 restaurants serving more than 40 million people each day in 117 countries. Approximately 85 percent of McDonald's U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.