Monday, January 31, 2005

Hey, kid, come here and let me tell you something...

The McDonald's mascot Ronald McDonald will be going to schools to talk to children about nutrition, according to this Washington Post article. Apparently, Pepsico has similar nutrition education programs, which are sending materials to thousands of schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics reviewed and approved the McDonald's promotion:

"We're not endorsing McDonald's or Ronald McDonald, but wanted to make sure the message was safe and appropriate," said Reginald L. Washington, co-chairman of the academy's task force on obesity. The program, he said, "takes advantage of the fact that Ronald McDonald has such recognition with kids that if he tells them to get moving, maybe they will do it."

Can't fool me. Ronald is a hard working clown. Even if he is talking about hamburgers 90 percent of the time, and about nutrition 10 percent of the time, he is making the sale as best he can 100 percent of the time. I wouldn't want him near my kids without me there to listen in. Here is the website for the Institute of Medicine's recent workshop on marketing to children. The anti-marketing presentations show the industry's power of persuasion, and the pro-marketing presentations demonstrate the industry's muscle. Some presentations are on the site already, and more should be posted shortly.

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