During the Olympics in Rio, burger baron McDonald’s provided their Happy Meals with a high-tech toy, a pedometer. The wrist-worn wearable was marketed for youngsters as a way to help keep them active. Unfortunately, as good as it sounded, the activity tracker appeared to cause skin irritation, and so the company withdrew their toy.
Obviously it was no coincidence that the fast food chain served their so-called Step-it wearable during the Olympics and the summer break. The company has been radically reinventing itself for years now, though the payoff remains uncertain. For the last few years, the chain has been branding the Happy Meal as a much healthier option, introducing fresh fruit and vegetables to the menu.
According to McDonald’s Canada Senior Marketing Manager, Michelle McIImoyle, "Step-it is in line with McDonald’s general philosophy for Happy Meal toys, which is to make toys that encourage either physical or imagination-based play". She continues, "Physical activity is important to everyone of all ages. We very much support children's well-being". Let’s put this in retrospect: there are 539 calories in a McDonald's Happy Meal, meaning that the average 8-years-old would have to walk for 300 minutes to burn it off.
In their latest company profile, the fast food chain aims “to become a modern, progressive burger company”. The Fitbit-inspired wearable is just one way to go. What would you consider an appropriate health toy for the restaurant chain?