Industry News | March 19, 2004

McD's to Happy Meal: Are You an Experience?

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McDonald's will roll out several changes to its worldwide Happy Meal program in 2004, in that product's 25th year of existence. According to a release, the new Happy Meal program will "focus on the total dining experience for customers, including expanded menu choice, a new global package design, and a number of innovative restaurant offerings for moms."

According to McDonald's marketing chief Larry Light, the changes are part of the company's effort to keep the brand fresh and relevant.

One part of the change will be an expanded menu. Options vary by country and include:

  • Fruit cups in Italy
  • Kid-sized bottled mineral water and Dannon low-fat yogurt in Spain
  • Toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches and sultanas (raisins) in Australia
  • McFruit drinks and yogurt in Brazil
  • Organic milk in the United Kingdom
  • Fish McDippers in Japan
  • Yogurt smoothies and flavored water in France
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches in Canada
  • Milk and orange juice in Mexico
  • Dannon yogurt, apples, Nesquik cereal bars, and mini apricot pies in Romania
  • One-percent milk and Apple Dippers in the United States
  • A variety of fruit, chicken, and yogurt products in markets around the world

    McDonald's new Happy Meal packaging will roll out worldwide beginning this month. The new design depicts children playing sports and having fun with friends, and also features puzzles, games and other interactive activities.

    But the biggest news appears to be for mothers. McDonald's says it will offer "fun treats" to them, such as "mini-magazines" covering fashion, music, and so on. McDonald's countries are also exploring features they hope will make McDonald's appealing to mothers; some of those incldue:

  • Restaurant Greeters -- Approachable, friendly crew who welcome families and offer assistance in the restaurants (China and Lebanon)
  • Mom's Helpers -- Specially-trained staff who will assist moms and help supervise children (Italy and the Netherlands)
  • Mom's Corner -- Special areas where moms can relax while watching their children (Mexico, Lebanon and Romania)
  • Mom's Parking -- Special parking for moms to make their dining experience easier (Canada and New Zealand)
  • Special Amenities -- In select restaurants, the United Kingdom will provide magazines for moms, coloring materials for kids and birthday parties as part of their new Happy Meal Experience.

    McDonald's new Happy Meal will be phased into McDonald's restaurants around the world throughout 2004, with each country customizing the program to fit customer needs and lifestyles. All restaurants will feature the new packaging by the end of the year.