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McDonald’s UK to give away books to kids, Unilever’s new Axe Apollo hunts for astronauts

Those brands are everywhere these days. McDonald’s in the UK has put its enemies among the chattering classes on the spot by announcing a national books giveaway, handing out a collection of tomes to kids with A Happy Readers promotion for Happy Meals while Unilever is launching Axe Apollo (or Lynx depending on where you are), a new men’s fragrance, with a hunt for 22 would-be astronauts (men only, alas).

“Our restaurants are designed to be colourful, exciting places that children and their parents come to for a treat and we’re looking forward to books becoming a part of that family experience,” says McDonald’s UK CMO Alistair Macrow.

McDonald’s did well out of the London Olympics last year despite a fuss being made over its massive restaurant at the site. Aligning the much-derided fast food chain with free children’s books (non-fiction and educational it seems) is a clever wheeze. At this rate it’ll be running academy schools soon, UK education secretary Michael Gove would probably love the idea.

As for Unilever’s Axe it has signed up veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin to front its Axe Apollo Space Academy programme, following in the footsteps of Red Bull (whose space jump was arguable the most successful promotion of 2012) and Richard Branson as advertisers tackle the final (and, from their point of view, mostly unregulated) final frontier.

Here’s what the lucky winners can expect.

Why no girls though? Can you actually get up to no good in a weightless state? A fitting task for all those Axe ‘angels’ we’d have thought.

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