This month, McDonald's Happy Meals in Europe will include not just fries, a drink and a burger, but a hefty portion of creative industry IP. Fuel Industries, the Ottawa-based digital agency behind interactive experiences and games for clients like Nokia, HBO, and MSNBC.com, has found a home under the golden arches for its entertainment property "Fairies and Dragons." The digital desktop toys feature eight different fairy and dragon characters, each of which live on an interactive CD-ROM. Once loaded into a computer, the disc allows kids to interact with one of the characters as a desktop "pet" or on a variety of hi-res games. From April 1 over two months, more than 30 million units will be distributed in 40 different countries across Europe.
Meanwhile, Fuel is banking on the Mickey D momentum to bring its characters onto a bigger pop culture stage. The company is also in early discussions with TV show creators and toy manufactures to create more entertainment outlets for the fairies and dragons. "Our CEO Mike Burns likes to say, 'If Disney was born on the web, that's what we want to be,'" says Fuel CCO Warren Tomlin. "Instead of making movies, television shows and licensing products and then thinking about what we should do online, we're doing it on the web first. Today, we're an agency. Tomorrow we want to be an agency and a content creator."