McDonald's Check it Out Summer Reading Program
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McDonald's Check it Out Summer Reading Program

The New York Tri-State McDonald’s Owners and Operators wanted to build on the success of the “Check It Out” summer reading program that was created by The MWW Group in 1999.

Paul Holmes

The New York Tri-State McDonald’s Owners and Operators wanted to build on the success of the “Check It Out” summer reading program that was created by The MWW Group in 1999.  The essence of the program is to reward young children, grades K through 4, for visiting their local libraries to check out and read five books over the summer to receive a free McDonald’s Happy Meal.  MWW promoted the program in each of the Tri-State McDonald’s Restaurants, on the mcdonaldsnymetro.com web site and in participating local libraries in the Tri-State area.
 
For the year 2000, The MWW Group developed a variety of program materials that collectively worked to generate recognition for McDonald’s support of education in the community and to ensure community involvement in the program.  MWW used a combination of mediums to create an “everywhere you look” presence for the program.
 
TARGET AUDIENCE(S)
 
The primary target audience for the “Check It Out” program is elementary schools students, grades K through 4, in the New York Tri-State area and their parents.  Secondary audiences include educators, library directors and directors of children’s organizations.
 
STRATEGY/TACTICS
 
MWW designed and distributed a multitude of program materials to ensure community involvement and attract children to the program.  “Check It Out” reading booklets, library posters, trayliners and the mcdonaldsnymetro.com web site featured a consistent graphic design, which was critical in maintaining the program identity.  The materials worked in tandem with publicity to generate awareness for the program.
 
The cornerstone of the program is the “Check It Out” booklet which includes tips for parents on how to raise a reader and improve children’s reading, great activities children can find at the local library, favorite places to read, fun books to read over the summer and a Happy Meal incentive coupon.  The goal for the 2000 program was to make “Check It Out” an even more credible and valuable educational program for librarians and educators.  The MWW Group leveraged Tri-State McDonald’s Restaurants’ relationship with the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education (PFIE), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Library Association (ALA).  The “Check It Out” materials incorporated informational tips from PFIE and ALA to help parents and guardians spark their child’s interest in reading.
 
The library poster was designed to spark interest in the program at libraries, and the tray liner was a key component in making the program interactive for children as well as informational for parents.
 

RESULTS
 
Librarians, educators, PAL directors, camp directors and Boys & Girls Clubs directors distributed in excess of 300,000 “Check It Out” booklets to children throughout the Tri-State area.
 
“Check It Out” posters were distributed to 1,200 participating libraries in the NY Tri-State area.
 
More than 18.6 million McDonald’s consumers were exposed to the “Check It Out” Summer Reading
 
Program message about fostering reading in children through the more than 1.86 million trayliners distributed to 620 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tri-State area.
 
MWW designed a section on the McDonald’s Tri-State web site (mcdonaldsnymetro.com), which included tips for parents and activities for children.  In addition, PFIE highlighted “Check It Out” on its national web site, created a link from pfie.ed.gov to mcdonaldsnymetro.com and applauded Tri-State McDonald’s Owners for their commitment to education.

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