Does MacDonald’s advertising corrupt our children?

In North London a small minority of the local community is demanding that McDonalds takes down an ad on a railway bridge because, “they feel they don’t want their children exposed to advertising for McDonalds.” There’s no rational reasoning for this, if there was they’d see that McDonald’s food is way down the list of bad things a parent can give a kid.

I doubt those over emotive parents had stopped to think about what they are giving their kids as an alternative. Crisps, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, sweets, pasties, pies, ice cream or fish & chips. Shock horror, Britain’s traditional fast food is really bad for you. Then add Indian, Chinese, pizza and kebabs – all highly calorific and full of dubious processed food, additives and saturated fats. Compared to that list, McDonalds is a healthy option. The real irony of this local groups demand to rip down a McDonald’s ad on a train bridge is that the road is full of kebab shops.

Of course they don’t consider all the benefits McDonalds provides – fair wages for local people, they buy all their beef and milk (and most of their eggs) from British & Irish farmers, they have strong eco policies – the list goes on. Compare that to any local café, bar or take-a-way. Pity over emotive parents can’t get their facts right before they complain. KFC Naked women running through the streets with a banner declaring ‘NAKED TRUTH: KFC TORTURES CHICKS’ is not a bad way to get attention. PETA has launched a ‘boycott KFC’ campaign against it’s unethical treatment of chickens.

PETA claim that “More than 850 million chickens are tortured and killed each year for KFC“ and have produced a horror video, though they quote just 750 million chickens in it (not sure what happened to the other 100m). In Canada KFC has backed down and agreed to more humane treatment of chickens and to provide vegan chicken – seems a bit odd that a vegan would even go into a KFC. Bottle your own water I’ve written a lot about bottled water and tap water in my blogs, but now you can package up your own. This is already going on in the food services industry but now Belu have launched a ‘do it yourself kit of labels’.

The elegantly designed labels are the work of the ethical design & communications agency Provokateur and is short listed in the Green Awards, as is their very fun ACME website. Their own website is one of the nicest I’ve see in a while, check it out. Channel 4 new series. Having got involved in the new Channel 4 series, Battlefront (along with a few other people from the ad business) I’d recommend people have a look at their website 20 young campaigners with 20 campaigns.

This is one of Channel 4’s first multi platform programmes and is also being run on Facebook and Bebo. One of the campaigns wants to promote the use of a coffee cup for life option (like the carrier bags) Starbucks already offer a discount if you bring in your own cup. Another wants to promote ‘random acts of kindness’. The Esquires chain of fair trade coffee houses have came up with a clever solution to the loyalty card, they have adapted the cardboard sleeves into one. It’s the usual deal, buy 9 get one free. A bit big to put in your wallet though, but a worthy idea ( Nutella Seems Ferrero, producers of Nutella (who also make Ferrero Rocher ) are the latest brand to get criticized for using palm oil which is responsible for deforestation in south-east Asia.

Unilever were attacked earlier this year when a group of protestors sat outside the Unilver office dressed as Orangutans. Greenpeace have launched a cyber action against Nutella. In February A TV ad for Nutella promoting the spread as good for children for breakfast was banned following 53 complaints to the ASA, arguing that it was misleading to say Nutella was a slow-release energy product because it had high sugar and oil content.

After Greenpeace whipped up a lot of support, Ferrero has now agreed to support the Unilever led moratorium on converting forest and peatland into oil palm plantations. Canadians ban ‘green’ and ‘eco’ words. Feed up with greenwash, the Canadians have banned labels and ads that use ‘green’ and ‘eco’ unless the company can prove it. Something we desperately need in the UK as complaints increase. Meanwhile in Australia, Goodyear has been condemned for claiming their Eagle tyres had little environmental impact. Well they do.

When will brands learn that greenwashing is a one way ticket to public condemnation. Worse for Goodyear, they actually had to pay out compensation to customer who were misled. Och! Tune in Finally, seems according to a survey in the States we are tuning back into radio and tuning out of iTunes. Consumers are getting bored listening to their current collection and in desperation to seek new material going back to good old radio. Much of this listening is taking place while surfing the web. For a really good radio station I recommend (digital and web only)

Passion for the Planet. Great music, no DJs and lots of really interesting interviews around health, ethics and the environment.

  • Gary Shannon

    Oh come on, you really wanted to recommend Planet Rock

  • Jenny Hanlon

    At last some positive comments about McDonalds…they are made a scapegoat far too often. Well said Chris Arnold!