McDonald’s has always been very popular among children around and below the age of 10. Despite raging popularity among all age groups, the 4-14 bracket accounts for a frenzied preference for McDonald’s. Apart from the restaurant being available for birthday parties and a mascot that children love, the key to this raging success is the Happy Meal.
The young minds of children can be more easily persuaded than adult minds. Since most children take at least 20 years or so to understand the finer nuances of economics and necessity, indulgent behaviour is the only way for them. Kids are driven by factors revolving around excitement and the unexpected, whereas adults who have been through several risky scenarios, opt for safety and expected results.
The first Happy Meal contained a small burger, a small serving of fries and a mini-sundae. It was designed to be a hassle-free option for kids. The innovation was a runaway hit, but that didn’t stop McDonald’s from developing the Happy Meal further. The first happy meal toys introduced were strictly McDonald’s themed, like the McDoodler Stencil, and the McWrist, which was a wallet.
It wasn’t until 1987 that Happy Meals took the shape that we know today. It started with Disney themed stickers and collectibles. Over the years, Happy Meals have featured top children’s characters such as Cinderella, Nemo, Beanie Babies and members of the Toy Story cast. These toys became an immense force of attraction for children, and sales of Happy Meal boxes naturally skyrocketed.
Kids have since then universally loved Happy Meals. It gave them an opportunity to collect their favourite characters, play with them, and it worked out well for their parents too, who were content with their children eagerly finishing their meals. Most children are very fussy about what they want to eat, if at all they do, and it’s a tough task for parents to come up with innovative ways to feed their children, to make food ‘interesting’.
It wasn’t until 2004 that the Happy Meal craze came to India. The first Indian edition of Happy Meal toys featured Mowgli from the immensely popular Jungle Book. It also featured his associates and friends. This paved the way for a multitude of Happy Meal toy offerings that were refreshed every month or so, to this day. The latest Happy Meal toys feature Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman from the prevalent DC universe.
It is interesting to note that Happy Meal toys are not only popular among young children but also some adults are avid collectors of happy meal toys. This is because the toys are intricately designed, and since they are readily available version of on-screen personas, they often have significance attached to them that cannot always be comprehended by young minds.
Many adults, such as Sunil from Bangalore and Vikram from Chennai are ardent collectors of Happy Meal toys. They have collected over 300 unique variants of Happy Meal toys, a collection any kid will envy. Now, you can make any meal a Happy Meal at McDonald’s by just adding Rs.50 as additional cost.