Going for gold with McDonald’s

McDonald’s UK has been using its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to get children into the sporting spirit

As part of its Mascotathon Happy Meal promotion, McDonald’s has been spurring youngsters across the UK for the past three months to help power the Games’ Mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, to the Opening Ceremonies.

McDonald’s Olympic Ambassador, decathlete Dean Macey, who has been accompanying the duo on the tour, which began in Cardiff on April 18, said: “It has been fantastic that so many of the UK’s kids have been able to get involved as part of McDonald’s Mascotathon tour.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are one of the most exciting events in the world and I hope this promotion has captured the imagination of UK kids and inspired them to get active and try new sports. I’m thrilled to be working with McDonald’s and have loved meeting some of the kids and their families on the tour!”

McDonald’s has given away nearly 9 million activity toys that encourage children to get active through play. The toys calculate the amount of activity – such as jumps or skips – the youngsters clock up, which then allows them to collect the ‘rainbow power’ needed to help the Mascots on their journey.

When registering their ‘rainbow power’ online, children have also been automatically entered into a competition to win tickets to an Olympic or Paralympic event, the chance to meet an Olympian and enjoy behind the scenes access at the Games.

Professor Paul Gately, Carnegie Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University and a member of McDonald’s Global Advisory Council, said: “The McDonald’s Mascotathon is a really clear but creative use of the Games to encourage and excite millions of children around the country in play and activity.

“Research shows that if kids are engaged in fun, positive and well-designed activity programmes, they are more likely to continue to participate in physical activity throughout their childhood and into adult life. This promotion has been using simple activity toys that help children to get active through play, as they use the toys to count their physical activity levels.”

When the Mascotathon finishes on July 25, McDonald’s will launch the second stage of its Olympic promotion. Each Happy Meal box will contain a free sport session voucher for kids to try one of seven Olympic sports in their local area.

McDonald’s involvement in the Olympic Movement began in 1976 and London 2012 marks the ninth consecutive Games that McDonald’s will feed the Games visitors as the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games. For the first time, McDonald’s will also play a key role supporting the volunteers as the Presenting Partner of the Games Maker programme.

Richard Forte, McDonald’s UK Senior Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer, said: “We have been very excited about the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the past four years. As Official Restaurant of the London 2012 Games, we expect to serve hundreds and thousands of spectators, workers and athletes and during the 29 days of the Games our Central restaurant will be the busiest McDonald’s anywhere in the world.”

Written by Fraser McKay