LOS ANGELES – McDonald's Corp. (MCD) will begin selling skateboards and bikes bearing the fast-food company's brand in a new effort to get kids to burn off burgers and fries with exercise.
The McKids (search) branded outdoor play equipment will be rolled out internationally later this year and in 2006. A few McKids items are already sold at retailers like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Target Corp..
McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer Larry Light said in a statement earlier this week that the skateboards and bikes will be a great value and are "designed to help make fitness fun."
McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, is making an aggressive push to deflect criticism of its food as unhealthy and fattening.
The company has already revamped its children's Happy Meal (search) offerings by allowing parents to choose milk instead of soft drinks or apple slices with caramel dip instead of fries.
In recent months, the chain has promoted physical activity with the tag line "It's what I eat and what I do. I'm lovin' it" in much of its marketing. Just last week, McDonald's even said it was making over its famous clown, Ronald McDonald (search), to make him more athletic.
McDonald's is working on the toys with DIC Entertainment, the Burbank, Calif.-based company behind the 2003 relaunch of the Strawberry Shortcake doll and kids' merchandise.
In addition to outdoor play equipment, new products will include a video series that promotes physical activity as well as a young adult clothing line inspired by vintage McDonald's logos, the companies said.