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McDonald’s aims to jump on War Horse bandwagon

Fast-food chain to give away millions of children’s books by author Michael Morpurgo in Happy Meal campaign

McDonald’s is aiming to cash in on the popularity of the launch of blockbuster film War Horse, striking a deal to give away millions of children’s books by author Michael Morpurgo as part of a campaign for its Happy Meal product.

The McDonald’s giveaway, which is backed by Jade Goody’s former partner Jeff Brazier, coincides with the launch of Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s book.

McDonald’s has struck a deal with HarperCollins, the book publisher owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, to give away about 9m of Morpurgo’s Mudpuddle Farm children’s books with Happy Meal purchases.

The giveaway is being backed by a major TV campaign – launching on Wednesday and running until 7 February – with McDonald’s claiming the initiative is about increasing literacy and creativity among children.

The War Horse film is being made by the Disney-owned studio DreamWorks, which officially launches in cinemas this weekend.

It made headines when Spielberg admitted in an interview that his wife, Kate Capshaw, had had to hand Kate Middleton a tissue to wipe away some tears at a red carpet premiere of the film on Sunday.

McDonald’s campaign, which is backed by The National Literary Trust, is also being supported by Brazier, who will act as an ambassador sharing tips to inspire children through storytelling.

“We are very supportive of McDonald’s decision to give families access to popular books,” said Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT. “Its size and scale will be a huge leap towards encouraging more families to read together.”

Six titles from HarperCollins’ Mudpuddle Farm range will be made available during the promotion. As part of the campaign parents will receive a finger puppet to help “bring stories to life”.

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