Their response: Sure, they’re Delicious! So much Fun! I want the Prize Inside! In a prior Blog Post, I noted that nine year-old Hannah Robertson confronted McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson at the company’s Annual Meeting last year. She asked him why Mickey D lures children into eating junk food by offering them toys and using cartoon characters, and offer healthy food instead? Mr. Thompson told her that the company doesn’t sell junk food, and that it also offers fruits, salads and non-fat chocolate milk. He didn’t reveal , however, that its restaurants are pulling some of its healthy choices since sales are low.
Well, now that’s great to know: McDonald’s “…doesn’t sell junk food.” But, just think of who is the focus of the company’s marketing efforts: Children! Get them hooked with the razzle-dazzle–the “Fun”: there’s a prize inside; they might expect to see Ronald at the store and, now, they have a new Happy Meal Mascot. Well, let’s look at the “Nutrition Facts”, which the company is required to post on its web site: http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf. Hmmm, I wonder what the percentage of their sales comes from: fish sandwiches; fresh fruit; salad or low/no-fat milk is. Probably not even a blip on the radar screen.
Take a look at what you and your children generally order, and pay attention to the columns with the Percentage of Daily Allowance. Now, remember the following: the calories, cholesterol, trans fat, etc. are that for only for one meal; the percentage of Daily Allowance is for Adults, so it would be greater for (especially) small Children; and, think again about the Target Audience–Children! In a previous Post, I had written about the fact that oftentimes chicken nuggets only contain 50% real chicken. My, how Healthy! Lock-in lifetime customers early on in life is the apparent theme. Good marketing, huh?
Now, McDonald’s is not the only “restaurant” that pushes unhealthy food on their customers, they all do it. It is one thing to sell unhealthy food; but, it is another to do it while claiming that it IS Healthy. Once you check those Nutrition Facts, you will see what i mean. Oh, and by the way, they are sometimes difficult to find on the various web sites.