from boston globe: RE “Pressure could make Ronald grimace” (Business, May 18): Finally, people are beginning to see Ronald McDonald for who he is, and he is certainly not a pro-health do-gooder, as described by McDonald’s. Ronald is a sophisticated marketing tool, used by McDonald’s to hook kids to unhealthy food. Ronald may be the most obvious marketing gimmick, but the dubious mascot is not alone. Happy Meals with toy giveaways, online game sites, and playgrounds at McDonald’s franchises are just a few examples of a McDonald’s marketing strategy that hinges on attracting kids before they are even aware of how marketing affects them. The consequences of this marketing strategy are grim, as the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of our public health crisis know better than anyone. The Associated Press reporter cites the end of cigarette marketing to kids, and it’s a superb analogy. As a society, we are allowing fast-food corporations to profit by luring young children to a product that will have devastating public health effects, and costs, for generations to come. We didn’t stand for it when Joe Camel was pushing cigarettes to kids, and we shouldn’t stand for predatory marketing now.
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