OAK BROOK, Ill., March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's USA will introduce a new, national Happy Meal campaign this week to help make nutrition fun for kids. The campaign includes TV advertisements featuring menu items from recommended food groups found in the new Happy Meal, now available nationwide. These are the first advertisements that support McDonald's nutrition commitment to promote nutrition and/or active lifestyle messages in 100 percent of its national communications to kids.
Every McDonald's Happy Meal now automatically includes apple slices and a kid-size fry. As the company continues to develop and test new menu offerings, a Happy Meal Chefs contest gives two parent and child teams the opportunity to help in the creation and testing of new, nutrition-minded Happy Meal choices alongside McDonald's executive chef Dan Coudreaut.
"For the first time, 100 percent of our national marketing efforts to kids will include nutrition or active lifestyle messages – a significant move in our ongoing commitment to children's wellbeing," said Neil Golden, McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer. "We are proud of this new approach and believe it will help make nutrition fun for kids while helping families feel even better about the food choices they make when visiting McDonald's."
The new Happy Meal campaign is McDonald's latest initiative to support its "Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices," announced July 2011. The comprehensive plan aims to help customers – especially children and families – make nutrition-minded choices whether visiting McDonald's or eating elsewhere.
New Advertising Characters Promote Balanced Eating and Active Play
The new Happy Meal TV advertisements will debut nationally on March 7 and use the art of storytelling – with metaphors, rhyme and song – to engage kids in the benefits of balanced eating. In striving to make nutrition fun for kids in a unique way, new characters – each with a story that celebrates kids' aspirations – will achieve their goals with the help of balanced eating and active play.
A character named Ferris will star in the first ads. He is a happy-go-lucky kid who lives with his friends on a "Fun, Funky Farm" where happiness grows. His Goat, an indiscriminate eater, eats everything in sight until he learns to eat right. Other cast members include Ant, Deana the Dino and Dodo. As the characters' stories unfold, they discover the benefits of eating foods from recommended food groups, including Happy Meal items like apple slices and fat free chocolate milk. Select ads featuring the current Happy Meal toys will encourage active and imaginative play that benefits children's overall wellbeing and happiness.
Ronald McDonald will continue to be an ambassador of happiness and joy for children of all ages in ongoing McDonald's advertising and local community programs.
"Most kids aren't meeting recommendations for food groups like fruit and low-fat dairy," said childhood nutrition expert Dr. Keith Ayoob. "I applaud McDonald's as an industry leader for making the right efforts to positively impact nutrition awareness through an integrated storytelling approach that truly connects with kids."
McDonald's Contest to Reward Top Kids' Stories of Nutritious Fun at Family Mealtime
Beginning March 5 through April 18, McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs contest is seeking top inspiring stories from parent and child teams who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime.
Ten kids will win a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of McDonald's Global Champions of Play program where they will join kids from around the world to celebrate balanced eating and fun play. Two Grand Prize Winners will become honorary "Happy Meal Chefs." The winning young chefs will experience a one-of-a-kind apprenticeship with the company's executive chef Dan Coudreaut.
"Every day in McDonald's executive kitchen, my menu team and I aspire to come up with new, nutrition-minded menu choices that kids will love," said Coudreaut. "The Happy Meal Chefs contest is inviting families to join in our team's effort to make wholesome food fun."
Parents or legal guardians with kids ages eight to 11 are eligible to enter online at the Happy Meal Chefs contest page. Participants must answer a brief questionnaire and submit a short video online that creatively showcases their family mealtime. They're also encouraged to learn about and feature recommended food groups from the USDA's MyPlate, the balanced-eating symbol based on federal dietary guidelines.
Five-time U.S. Olympic Swimmer and Global Champions of Play Ambassador Dara Torres is a member of the Happy Meal Chefs judging panel, which also includes Ayoob among other children's wellbeing ambassadors.
"As an athlete and mom, it's important that my family lives a balanced active lifestyle," said Torres. "I see cooking with my family as part of playtime that encourages teamwork, creativity and healthful eating habits. I look forward to learning how Happy Meal Chefs contestants value their family mealtime."
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to US residents 18 yrs+ who are parent/legal guardian of a child 8-11 yrs. Contest ends 4/18/12. Subject to Official Rules. See Official Rules at https://happymealchefs.mcdonalds.com/rules info, deadlines & complete details. Void where prohibited.
For more information about McDonald's "Commitments of Offer Improved Nutrition Choices," visit aboutmcdonalds.com.
McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States offering a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to more than 26 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at any of the 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter (@McDonalds) and Facebook (Facebook.com/McDonalds) for updates on our business, promotions and menu items.
The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates: Happy Meal and McDonald's. © 2012 McDonald's
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SOURCE McDonald's USA, LLC