Fast Food Chain Removes Smile from Kids’ Meals for Mental Health Awareness Week

McDonald’s has recently made a significant change to their iconic Happy Meal containers in the UK division. In solidarity with Mental Health Awareness Week, the company removed the smile from millions of Happy Meal boxes and renamed the famous menu item to simply “The Meal” for a week. This initiative was brought about by Leo Burnett UK and Ready 10 in response to a study revealing that 48% of kids in the UK feel pressured to be happy all the time.

To further promote conversations around mental health in families, McDonald’s distributed 2.5 million Happy Meal boxes to over a thousand locations in the UK. Additionally, selected restaurants received emotion stickers for kids to replace the iconic smile with their preferred emotion.

Louise Page, a representative from McDonald’s, emphasized the importance of open conversations about mental health in families. The company hopes that the redesign of the Happy Meal box will encourage positive discussions about children’s emotions and wellbeing.

This move by McDonald’s is reminiscent of a similar campaign by Burger King in 2019 where they released Real Meals as an alternative to the Happy Meal, highlighting different moods and colors on the packaging. Burger King also launched a #FeelYourWay campaign to promote the expression of various emotions among young people.

It seems that McDonald’s has taken inspiration from Burger King’s campaign, showing that both fast food chains are advocating for a more inclusive and open approach to mental health and emotions in the context of children’s meals.