The Rise and Fall of McDonald’s Happy Meals


Nina Corcoran, writing for Consequence of Sound, about the history of McDonald’s Happy Meal:

Kids wanted a clear distinction between their food and their parents’ food. Bernstein decided to give them that. Shortly after being assigned the task of bringing the “Menu Ronald” to American audiences, Bernstein took note of his son’s habits at breakfast. Instead of staring at his cereal while eating it, he scanned the cereal box’s illustrations over and over, drawing a line through its mazes and reading the jokes characters told. Bernstein instructed his creative team to set to work on paperboard boxes modeled in the style of lunch pails. The restaurant’s iconic Golden Arches, he told them, had to be handles. The company asked nationally known children’s illustrators to design content for the sides of the boxes, eight items total, that incorporated jokes, games, comics, stories, or anything else that might capture a child’s imagination.

I remember as a kid when getting to go to McDonalds was treated like an event, a special occasion.