In 1977, one of McDonald's regional directors devised a plan for meals aimed especially at children. The "Happy Meal" went national in 1979 and included a burger, fries, cookies, a soft drink, and a premium prize, all housed conveniently in a box decorated with fun games and puzzles. Since then, Happy Meals (and their parallel products at other fast food restaurants) have become an established part of American pop culture. The meals intersected marketing, children, food, and play in ways that are significant and revealing. The boxes often have educational elements along with advertising messages that promote not only McDonald's, but also toys, television shows, and movies. They illustrate children's power in the marketplace as well as the kinds of ploys that marketers use to manipulate children's tastes, interests, and spending.