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Food Marketing to Kids

I was on the American Marketing Association website today, and noticed a poll in the sidebar regarding the impact of Ronald McDonald marketing to children.

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This question immediately brought me back to my junior year of college in the spring of 2002, where I had my first blog for an Organizational Communications course (ps – who knew I’d be here four years later). After reading Fast Food Nation I detail how McDonald’s and Disney both capitalized on marketing to children – America’s #1 most sought after demographic for advertising.

So, it got me thinking. Is this guy:
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…really the face of America’s childhood obesity epidemic?

I think a lot of people assign blame to McDonald’s – and Ronnie himself – and use them as scapegoats for Americans’ poor health. While, yes we all learned about the negative effects of McDonald’s from films like Super Size Me,
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And people, like obesity activist Julia Havey, have carried around 4 year old cheeseburgers..
And isn’t Ronald McDonald known for probably one of the most amazing charities – The Ronald McDonald House?
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I have met countless parents and families while in the hospital with my dad who had had children in accidents, and they absolutely praised RMDH and said they wouldn’t know what to do without them.

I think too often we are quick to blame the face behind a problem, and I think that despite my own feelings toward eating Mickey D’s, it is NOT Ronald McDonald, or Grimace or The Hamburgler for that matter, that is to blame.

What do YOU think?

For more on food marketing to kids and adolescents:

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/07/P064504foodmktingreport.pdf

http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-04-27/opinion/17370057_1_overweight-obesity-children

Do children really wield that much power at the grocery stores or to a waiter/waitress? I know I didn’t.

Speaking of fast food, lunch was an impromptu meal outside at Cosi so I didn’t have my camera. I ordered the Signature Salad – Light with No Dressing.
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And opted to not get the bread. I just wasn’t feeling carby today I guess!

After being outside in this unseasonable heat, I came back to my desk to enjoy a Pomegranate Chobani.

So creamy, so good.
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How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Hopefully as gorgeous as it is in our nation’s capital!

Posted by Quinn at 2:17 PM

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