There is a lot of hoopla around the reported McDonald’s ads on report card envelopes at a school district in Florida. At least one parent is, predictably, upset. As reported in Promo magazine, Susan Pagan, the mother of a nine-year-old who received a report card, said was “shocked and outraged” when she saw the ad on the envelope.
Pagan, apparently, “[tries] to feed my kids well, especially with all the media hype about childhood obesity. If someone wants to send me something, fine. But let’s keep direct marketing out of the hands of our kids.”
Even without all of the media hype about childhood obesity, my parents tried to feed me well. And for the most part they did, though I do bear the scars of being forced to eat cooked carrots and my Mom’s lemon chicken.
In the current climate, and knowing the McDonald’s strives to be a “responsible” company, advertising as closely to schools as McDonald’s did is a definite no-no.
Though…the Biz takes the stance that advertising does not compel anyone to do anything. There was much more, in terms of volume and lack of restrictions on content, advertising targeted at kids when I was a little tyke and even when my parents were young. And somehow, we made it out unscathed and un-obese. My parents (and theirs) may have had to put up with more “no, we’re stopping at McDonald’s” and “no, you can’t have that toy” than they wanted…but what parent doesn’t?
In moderation, a McDonald’s Happy Meal is a nice little treat. As is the Taco Bell I am going to go and get for lunch today. Eaten every day, either one will make you a fat ass. But, at this point, if you don’t know that…well, let’s be honest, at this point, EVERYONE knows that you can’t eat fast food every day and be healthy.
But there are lots of things that you can’t do every day and be healthy (and, as a corollary, can do occasionally while still remaining the picture of fitness). Advertising those treats (fast food, ice cream, coffee, etc and so on) should not be disallowed just because some people can’t control themselves.
The advertising isn’t forcing them in over-indulge.
If parents want to make school advertising-fee, it’s their prerogative. And it could be very fairly argued that targeting children, especially with a promised reward without parental consent, crosses the line. Limiting advertising to kids is a perfectly defensible position to hold though it is important to recognize that McDonald’s food isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing. It is a bad thing only in excess and, as parents, it is important to ensure that kids need do not consume it in excess.
Don’t blame advertising for your lack of willpower to moderate your tastes and impulses.
If all so-called unhealthy foods stop advertising, obesity is not going to go away.