McDonald’s reintroduce clown mascot, Ronald McDonald…
Follow me on Twitter! @BrookLaa
As if the appeal of fast food to kids wasn’t enough, McDonald’s have announced the return of their very own child-catcher, Ronald. He’s been absent for a good few years ever since polls showed that young teens considered him and his restaurant “too childish”. It seems to be a turnaround for the company as they have, since his departing, branched out into more sophisticated “café-style” food and beverages, with more high-brow seating areas, reminiscent of coffee chains such as Starbucks or Costa.
The premise of these adverts is to essentially coerce kids into getting more involved with the brand, to introduce them to another medium of advertising, by inviting them to check out “his” website and download McDonald’s themed photos. There’s various methods of getting kids more involved such as media content like photos of Ronald one can superimpose themselves into, cartoon stories and interactive games, loaded with brand placement and general McDonald’s promotion.
Image via Wikipedia
There’s problematic moral ground on which this new campaign lays, such as the promotion of posting pictures of yourself with an anonymous man, teaching impressionable children that it’s nothing out of the ordinary which every parent will, I’d hope, be concerned with. The obvious increased threat of child groomers utilising the mixed messages given by the worldwide chain is one they clearly didn’t factor in. Unfortunately, advertising campaigns cannot be held accountable for the naivety of their viewers and so, the official line will be that the blame lies with the children’s parents and their not protecting or educating their children in an effective manner.
It’s a difficult one to sort out in your head: on one hand, it is the parents’ choice to let their younger children dine at the restaurant and good parenting *should* always overcome persuasive advertising; on the other hand a brand such as McDonald’s has been linked as a causal factor in the development of childhood obesity, due to the addictive nature and high fat, salt and sugar content in the majority of their food and drink.
Should a business be told it is not allowed to promote to children as it promotes the unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle, despite the fact that it’s a totally optional product? (Think fun-size chocolate bars). Should a business be allowed to push something proven to be unhealthy and addictive, causing major health problems in millions of people? (Think cigarette advertising).
It is indeed, a moral minefield. Personally, I don’t see why literally the most recognisable brand in the world, perhaps with the exception of Coca Cola, even needs to hook a new generation to its product. “Save some money and forget about advertising” was my first thought, but then after researching advertising laws within the context of taxation, I found something very interesting; the money used for advertising cannot be taxed. It’s either advertise with it, or have it taken away with no benefit for the company. Understandable, if a little immoral.
Follow me on Twitter! @BrookLaa
Related article: Reaction to KFC’s introduction of the “Double Down” Burger
Welcome to Authspot, the spot for creative writing.
Read some stories and poems, and be sure to subscribe to our feed!