The Wall Street Journal has reported on efforts to force McDonald's to retire Ronald McDonald in the ongoing campaign to stop marketing junk food to children.
Yesterday, Corporate Accountability International placed full page ads in several newspapers featuring an open letter to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner which was signed by more than 550 health professionals and institutions in the United States. It reads in part:
The rates of sick children are staggering. Ballooning health care costs and an overburdened health care system make treatment more difficult than ever. And we know that reducing junk food marketing can significantly improve the health of kids.
Our community is devoted to caring for sick children and preventing illness through public education. But our efforts cannot compete with the hundreds of millions of dollars you spend each year directly marketing to kids. (Italics mine)
If one looks at Corporate Accountability International's website it also features an article written by AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode which appeared in The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday. While the article highlights Corporate Accountability International's activities consider how the article begins:
Ronald McDonald is having a mid-life crisis.
His floppy shoes, painted-on-smile and flaming-red hair may be a harder sell to today's kids who are trading in their dolls and trucks for manicures and mobile game apps at ever younger ages. He also seems out of step with McDonald's Corp.'s new efforts to appeal to adults. The 48-year-old spokesclown has fallen flat in new ads this year, according to Ace Metrix, a group that tracks TV advertising.
So how is it that Corporate Accountability International can claim it cannot compete with McDonald's advertising when the evidence suggests that kids are ignoring Ronald McDonald? Their argument is completely undermined. Yet it doesn't stop Corporate Accountability International from trying to turn Ronald McDonald into Joe Camel. They are branding Ronald McDonald as public enemy number one.
I, for one, grimace at the thought.
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