A Very Happy Meal

So cute!

So cute!

I needed a quick, easy, small, cheap meal yesterday before I ran errands and something about McDonald’s just sounded good. It’s that magical combination of hot salty fries and cold sweet Coke, I think. Anyway, I got a Mighty Kids Happy Meal and I was pretty much blown away. Everything was on point–the food, the toy, and the packaging/marketing (yes, I’m a nerd for good packaging and marketing/branding).

First, the box: My meal came in the classic Happy Meal box, made from brightly printed cardboard with a little curved handle made to look like the famous golden arches. Didn’t McDonald’s stop making the cardboard boxes for a while? It seems like they used printed paper bags for a few years, but I could be wrong (or maybe they use the bags when the boxes run out?). Anyway, I got a box this time and it was adorable.

Then, the food: I got six chicken nuggets, a small fry, a drink (I upgraded to a medium Coke), dipping sauce, and ketchup. For a dessert/side, you could choose a tube of GoGurt or pack of apple slices. The apple slices have been around for a while, but the GoGurt was new to me. Maybe I was hungry, but something about this little meal was so good and fun–all the different flavors and textures and temperatures!

Finally, the toy: This is always the best part of a Happy Meal, right? I visited McDonald’s at just the right time, too–it was Hello Kitty time! (If you’re not into Hello Kitty, you could have chosen Monster Jam mini trucks. I have no idea what Monster Jam is.) I was so excited to see the Hello Kitty theme that I opened my toy before I started eating, even though everyone knows you’re supposed to wait until you’re finished eating (right, parents?). Anyway, I unwrapped an adorable little Hello Kitty bobble head doll! She’s wearing a pink dress and matching pink bow and–here’s the kicker–little black MARY JANES! Gah!  Here’s a close-up of the shoes:

Eek!  Little Mary Janes!

Eek! Little Mary Janes!

The bobble-head would have been enough to satisfy me (as a kid or an adult), but the package also included an HK colored pencil and three sheets of mini stationery–it turns out that bobble-head doubles as a (heavy, clunky) pencil topper. But we’re not done yet!

McDonald’s now produces mobile app content to accompany each toy release! I downloaded the free McPlay app and scanned my Hello Kitty doll to unlock a cute little digital coloring book. (You know the type–you tap on the color and then tap on the area you want to color.) I’ve included a couple of my creations below:

Carrots or radishes? I went with carrots.

Carrots or radishes? I went with carrots.

I missed a few spots on this one...

Hmm. I missed a few spots on this one…

How cool is all of this? I’m especially jazzed because I’ve loved Hello Kitty since I was a kid, but I thought all of this was really fun and well done. I looked online and the other Hello Kitty items in this promotion are super cute, too–it seems to be a back-to-school supplies theme. There’s a paper punch, an embosser, a folding ruler, stickers, etc. I kinda want them all. 🙂

I know that Happy Meals are wasteful and cluttery, but I really enjoyed this whole experience. “Experience” sounds like a strong word for a Happy Meal, but that’s really what McDonald’s created here (that sounds cheesy and “business-y,” but it’s true). There was a lot of choice and customization, too. You could choose your entrée (four or six nuggets, hamburger, cheeseburger), your side (yogurt or apple slices), your drink (milk, juice, soda), and your toy (Hello Kitty or Monster Jam). The entertainment value was good, too, with the coloring app, the doll, and the stationery–and the box had punch-out Hello Kitty drawing stencils to boot!

It’s a good time to be a kid–or a kid-at-heart. 🙂

– Angela

P.S. I’m not being paid by McDonald’s or Hello Kitty–I’m just lame and actually chose to write about this for fun.

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