McDonald's and Leo Burnett supercharge children’s literacy

The fast food giant is launching the ‘Happy Readers Book Tour’ to make reading more accessible for children across the UK.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


With the familiar routine of ‘back to school’ kicking in Leo Burnett has launched a new campaign for Mcdonald's to encourage children to unlock the joy of reading. 

The ‘Happy Readers Book Tour’ aims to ensure as many children as possible return to school with a book in hand. With restaurant giveaways and charitable donations, the campaign will be providing 500,000 free books to children in 16 locations across both the UK and Ireland.

The activation ties into McDonald’s work to promote children’s literacy and to maximise impact the campaign will be touring areas of the country which, according to the National Literacy Trust, have lower than average literacy rates. 

The Happy Readers tour bus is wrapped with bold, eye-catching Happy Readers branding, all designed by Leo Burnett, with interior and exterior stickers consisting of multiple child-friendly characters. 

Inside the bus, free books will be handed out as well as activity sheets, with digital animation screens to explain the key purposes of the tour. There will be ‘read-a-longs’ to get children engaged in storytelling and free Happy Readers bookmarks, designed by the Leo Burnett team, which aim to help children with dyslexia and visual stress read better via a reading pane. 

The tour will be supported by family-friendly influencers, with additional supporting content coming from the likes of Vernon Kay.

Alex Martin, Senior Brand Manager at McDonald’s, explained: “Since 2013, McDonald’s has been a trusted partner of Children’s Literacy in the UK. In that time, we’ve provided 130 million books to children. And on the Happy Readers Book Tour this summer, we’ll be giving away 500,000 more, in the hope that we ignite a passion for reading and imagination for life”

  Mark Elwood, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett UK, added: “McDonald’s taking the ‘power of reading’ out to the towns and cities of the UK, is a great example of a brand truly taking action in a powerful way. 130 million books given away and counting is quite the feat, there’ll be more to come from us on this topic.”

According to the National Literacy Trust in the UK, 1 in 5 children between the ages of 5-8 say they don’t own a book. 

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