In an effort to increase lagging sales of their children’s Happy Meal offering, McDonald’s has announced a new promotion offering patrons a pair of youth-sized sweatpants with the purchase of a hamburger, cheeseburger or McNuggets Happy Meal. The Sweatpant Happy Meals will be available at all locations in March 2012 and represent McDonald’s first foray into alternative promotional offerings for their historically popular children’s food offerings.
The fast food giant’s latest initiative comes on the heels of a recent nationwide research project indicating that 7 out of 10 children eating Happy Meals attempted to consume the toy included with the meal, with approximately 45% successfully doing so. Additionally, 52% of all children observed no longer fit into their pants at the conclusion of their meal, forcing a number of parents to fashion make-shift parkas from empty garbage bags provided by restaurant staff.
Research data in hand, McDonald’s executives took little time to propose a practical alternative to traditional entertainment-based promotions for their child-focused products.
“While offering a toy in our Happy Meals has traditionally been a big hit with both children and their parents, we felt that the increasing number of cases of childhood obesity brought on by our products necessitated a shift in thinking,” said William Dickerson, McDonald’s Vice President of Marketing. “At the end of the day, we decided that entertaining a child with a cheaply crafted toy was less important than providing them with a casual pair of pants with a waistband that adjusts as the child becomes increasingly obese and disgusting.”
Aside from the varied color options, the promotional sweatpants are also available in a wide variety of sizes—from youth L, XL, and XXL to adult M, L, and XL. McDonald’s executives also indicated that each pair of sweatpants is made of material resistant to both urine and vomit stains and can be worn for up to ten days in a row without washing. Patrons needing more waist support than the Kevlar-reinforced waistband provides will also be able to substitute their side of apple slices with a pair of McSuspenders.
The promotion, which was tested in low-income markets over the past three months, has received wide-spread support from nutritionists and pediatricians across the nation, even garnering an official endorsement from The National Organization Supporting Children and Teenagers with Obesity and Image Issues in Modern American Culture (NOSCTOIIMAC).
“One of the medical community’s biggest complaints regarding fast food operations in this country over the past thirty years has been their shameful use of toys as a way to bait children to their unhealthy food products,” said NOSCTOIIMAC spokesperson, Darla Vendy. “By now offering easily adjustable clothing that will help disguise these children’s grotesque, depressing physiques, McDonald’s has finally taken the first step towards remedying all of the damage they have caused over the years.”
In a number of southern states, where studies indicated sweatpants to already constitute 84% of the average citizen’s wardrobe, customers will also be allowed to substitute the fast food giant’s new “McInject Me” diabetes kit. The kit will include three vials of Grimace-ulin (McDonald’s proprietary insulin product) and a choice of either Mayor McCheese or Hamburglar-themed syringes.
In response to McDonald’s new obesity-friendly initiatives, Burger King has just announced plans to install plug-free toilets with extra-large openings in all of their restrooms in response to customer complaints about the state of restaurant bathrooms following a recent “Color Me Whopper” promotion.