After a hiatus, there recently was the very brief return of McDonald’s happy meal toys. Due to the immense criticism from health and environmental advocates, the firm had dropped the toys from Happy Meals. However, these toys are back for a limited time. Thus, parents must move fast if they want to get the toys.

Over the past several years, McDonald’s tried a lot of marketing tactics to drive growth. Here are some of them:

Click the image to visit McDonald’s Web site.

The Very Brief Return of McDonald's Happy Meal Toys


The Very Brief Return of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

From November 7 to 11, McDonald’s brought back its Happy Meal toys. Why the return? And why for such a limited time? 

As Jessica Wohl reports for Advertising Age:

“The Golden Arches’ kid-sized meal is old enough to have kids of its own. The Happy Meal turned 40 this year. McDonald’s is celebrating by bringing back 17 toys people might have missed out on the first time around, or might still have hidden somewhere in the basement or attic.”

“The toys coming back include Patti the Platypus, the Teenie Beanie Baby, and Happy Meal versions of Tamagotchi and Furby. A Hot Wheels Thunderbird, a Power Ranger and a Space Jam Bugs Bunny toy, all from 1990’s Happy Meal releases, are also part of the promotion. And those who remember the McNugget buddies, characters from McDonald’s TV commercials that were sort of like miniature Mr. Potato Heads, but of McNugget shape, in 1988 Happy Meals, will be in luck. The cowboy, fireman and mail carrier McNuggets are returning. So are Grimace and Hamburglar toys that were in Happy Meals in the 1990s.”

“McDonald’s wants to ‘evoke feelings of nostalgia.’ The push comes a year after McDonald’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Big Mac sandwich and saw lots of positive responses from that marketing approach.” 

“However, the return of the toys comes as other entities have been bashing the waste generated by plastic playthings. Rival Burger King went so far as to suggest last month that kids bring plastic toys into its U.K. restaurants to be melted down and repurposed.” 

“McDonald’s pledges to reduce its reliance on plastic toys and offer a variety of prizes. As McDonald’s points out, it’s on track to distribute 540 million books globally by the end of 2019 through the ‘Happy Meal Readers’ program introduced in 2018.”

Watch a short, fun video about the toy promotion.


3 Replies to “Brief Return of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys”

  1. The happy meals has been one of the reason that I loved about Mcdonalds, but as more and more children are sustaining into healthier lifestyle so the demand for it went down. In addition back in my days Mcdonalds use to sell toys related to the movies that came out with it was amazing. However, its amazing that Mcdonald’s is bringing back the old toys so real fan people can have it as a collection and bring back childhood memories that I have felt as a consumer when I first had Mcdonalds.

  2. As I am no longer a consumer of Happy Meals solely for the prizes, I hadn’t realized there was a hiatus. My initial thought when reading this was “Oh wow, they brought back this toy.” It makes me want to purchase a happy meal, like when I was younger. As you had said this was the point, the nostalgia. Not only will adults want to purchase a “throwback” meal and they may purchase it for their child as well.

  3. As seen many times over, tapping into the nostalgic consumer is successful. On a whole, this initiative drives quick short-term sales and garners media attention. Will it convert customers longterm in a health conscious environment not necessarily. But in a crowded content environment McDonalds is playing a strategic game to ensure people are talking about them and not their competitors

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