Industry News | May 13, 2010
Maybe an Ogre Can Get Kids to Eat Healthy
"Three years ago Shrek helped us launch our biggest worldwide promotion of fruit, vegetables, and dairy," says Dean Barrett, senior vice president of McDonald's global marketing. "Now he's back, with his famous friends, to help us communicate the great taste and fun of these foods in new and even more impactful ways. We anticipate the response to our Happy Meal choice items such as Apple Dippers and low-fat milk jugs will be greater than ever."
This new Shrek-themed promotion, focusing on the great taste and appeal of fruits and vegetables, reflects McDonald's ongoing commitment to kids and families and making these foods fun for kids to eat. McDonald's is broadening the approach by delivering the "great taste" on Shrek packaging, point-of-purchase marketing materials at kids' eye-level, TV commercials, online, and in social media.
"We all face the challenge of motivating our children to even try vegetables, let alone convince them that they taste good and are fun to eat," says Paul Gately, PhD and professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University in Leeds, United Kingdom, and a member of McDonald's Global Advisory Council. "Programs like this can be an important step in creating new attitudes with youngsters and actually motivating them to try something new."
In 2007, McDonald's featured Shrek on the packaging of Happy Meal choice items such as milk jugs and Apple Dippers. Today, McDonald's estimates more than half of Happy Meals sold worldwide include a fruit, vegetable, milk, juice, or water option.
"We continue to work with leading children's experts and organizations to elevate our approach on how to motivate kids to choose fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods more often," Barrett says.
In the U.S., kids can "Shrek Out" their Happy Meals with Apple Dippers and low-fat white or chocolate milk. Around the world, children can choose such items with their Happy Meals as: Apple Bags in Australia, and during the Shrek promotion, one in four packages will offer free Shrek ogre ears; Corn Cups, Cherry Tomatoes, and Carrots in Latin America; Organic milk, Fruit Bags (apple slices and grapes), and Carrot Sticks in the United Kingdom and Europe; and Corn Cups in Japan.
Timed to the Shrek promotion, McDonald's is unveiling Stage M, an action-packed interactive, online experience for kids featuring exciting new music videos recorded by popular kids' artists: Brandon Smith, musician and star of "Sonny with a Chance," and Olympic gymnast and singer Carly Patterson. The music videos use colorful animation and fun tunes to engage kids in the taste and appeal of fruits and vegetables. Online components also include kid-friendly activities and games that allow parents and kids to interact with Shrek characters, star in their own music videos, and play games involving fruits and vegetables.
The online kids' experience goes live May 14 in English at www.fun.mcdonalds.com and will be available through participating McDonald's country websites as well.
A new section on McDonald's global website, www.aboutmcdonalds.com/parents, scheduled to go live May 18, is designed for parents as a resource about food and nutrition. Families will find recipes and advice from McDonald's very own Chef Dan Coudreaut, explore Happy Meal choices from Argentina to the United Kingdom, and discover more about McDonald's philosophy in communicating with kids.
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