McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy Provides Sanctuaries for Finland’s Endangered Birds

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Tiny Finnish birds will soon be the envy of all their Scandinavian flying friends.

McDonald’s Finland is placing 1,400 Happy Meal look-alike hardwood birdhouses in the country’s forests for small feathered families to have safe havens and shelters for their nests. The campaign also includes a 10,000 euro donation from McDonald’s toward the protection of Finnish birds.

Every third species of birds in Finland is endangered, and forest birds, particularly small ones, have a difficult time finding a perfect spot to nest in the spring without flying into predators along the way. Golden arches will be included in shelters—french fries are, unfortunately, not.

“McDonald’s is known as a family restaurant, and especially after Covid-19, we wanted to give families something they could do together while protecting our precious nature and wildlife at the same time,” said Mats Nyström, marketing director at McDonald’s Finland, in a statement.

Per the creative agency behind the “Happy Meal Bird Box” campaign, NORD DDB Helsinki, one of Covid-19’s positive societal side effects in Finland was that “people’s bond with nature strengthened in an unforeseen way” as more Finns took to the outdoors for socially distant activities. In addition, building and placing birdhouses (or nest boxes) in the backyard, summer cottage or even national park is a tradition distinct to the country, as they are permitted in nearly every recreation area or forest in Finland.

“Thus, it made sense to put together families, nature and Happy Meals, and as a result, we have a campaign that highlights what the Happy Meal stands for: the precious time spent together as a family,” said Kalle Wallin, creative director at NORD DDB Helsinki, in a statement.

The Happy Meal Bird Box do-it-yourself sets include instructions that are, according to a statement, accessible even for the smallest member of your family to comprehend and include painted and ready-formed pieces and screws for putting the birdhouse together. The sets will be given out to Finnish families buying Happy Meals all over the region from Sept. 26 and on.

Additionally, instructions for the bird boxes will not only be uploaded at mcdonalds.fi but they will also be placed on the tray liners at all McDonald’s restaurants in Finland.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has hooked up tiny critters with microsized homes. Last fall, the global fast-food giant and NORD DDB placed fully-functioning McHives on restaurants’ roofs in Sweden. Coined as the “worlds smallest McDonald’s,” the hives were architectural replicas of franchise locations in miniature proportions with space to serve thousands of bees.


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