PDF Version

NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: July 31st, 2002

Coalition Asks UNICEF To Cancel McDonald's World Children's Day

An international coalition of public health professionals and activists organized by Commercial Alert today requested that UNICEF stop “lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald’s” and cancel “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.” The coalition sent the request in a letter to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

On July 19, Ms. Bellamy and McDonald’s CEO Jack Greenberg announced that they will “team up” to raise funds for children’s charities, including UNICEF, and launch “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.” The event is scheduled for November 20th, which is the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Last year, Ronald McDonald House Charities gave $5 million to UNICEF.  The letter follows.

Dear Ms. Bellamy:

On July 19, UNICEF announced its partnership with the McDonald’s Corporation to hold “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.”

In effect, UNICEF is lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain.  McDonald’s is a global leader in the marketing of junk food that is creating soaring rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that is disrupting traditional ways of food preparation in families and cultures.

It is truly a challenge to see how this partnership with McDonald’s is consistent with UNICEF’s claim to promote “good nutrition” to the world’s children.  As you know, McDonald’s markets precisely the high-added-fat, high-added-sugar junk food that undermines good nutrition for the world’s children.

McDonald’s is responsible for multi-million dollar ad campaigns that prod children to nag, whine and throw tantrums so that their parents will consent to buy them junk food.  The company’s ad campaigns deliberately foment conflict between parents and children regarding food.

It is not the proper role of UNICEF to endorse or serve as enabler for corporate activities of this kind.  Do you really think people contribute to UNICEF so that you can help corporate advertisers to manipulate innocent and impressionable children with sophisticated psychological techniques, cause strife in the home and promote the consumption of junk food?

UNICEF’s mission is to protect children from just these things.  Therefore, we urge you to reconsider your partnership with the McDonald’s Corporation, and cancel “McDonald’s World Children’s Day” immediately.

Sincerely,

Enola Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values
Monika Arora, Programme Director, HRIDAY-SHAN, India
The Honorable Danielle Auroi, Member, European Parliament, France
Belen Balanya, co-author, Europe, Inc.: Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power
Peter Barnes, Co-founder, Working Assets; author, Who Owns the Sky?
Medea Benjamin, Founding Director, Global Exchange
Stephen Bezruchka MD, MPH, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington
Louis Borgenicht, MD, Member, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens’ Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Child Development, Lesley University
Vittorio Carreri, Presidente, Giunta esecutiva, SItI; Head of the Sanitary Prevention Unit of Lombardy Region.
Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
The Honorable Ian Cohen, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas
Erica Frank, MD, MPH, Vice Chair and Associate Professor; Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington
Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Andy Harris, MD, Board of Directors, Physicians For Social Responsibility
Paul Hawken, Natural Capital Institute
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor, Yale School of Medicine
Joe Kelly, Executive Director, Dads and Daughters; and Publisher, Daughters Newsletter: For Parents of Girls
Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets
Jean Kilbourne, Author, Can’t Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think And Feel
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Senior Scientist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard University
Pieta-Rae Laut, Executive Director, Public Health Association of Austrailia
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College
Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Lida Lhotska, PhD, Regional Coordinator for Europe, International Baby Food Action Network
Susan Linn, EdD, Associate Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Alison Linnecar, International Coordinator, Geneva Infant Feeding Association
Alan H. Lockwood, MD, Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo; Past-President and Chairman, Environment and Health Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ben Manski, Co-Chair, Green Party of the United States
Mohamed Marwoun, MS, Specialist, Community Medicine, Ministry of Public Health, Saudi Arabia
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Professor, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Keven Mosley-Koehler, MS, MPH, Grant Project Manager, Group Health Community Foundation
Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Peggy O’Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Sheldon Rampton, Editor, PR Watch
Mike Rayner, DPhil, Director, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group
John Rensenbrink, US Representative, Global Green Network
The Honorable Lee Rhiannon, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director, Science and Environmental Health Network
Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College; author, The Overspent American and The Overworked American
John Stauber, Executive Director, Center for Media & Democracy; co-author, Trust Us, We’re Experts and Toxic Sludge is Good for You
Vic Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine; author, Children, Adolescents, and the Media
Karen Valenzuela, MA, MPA, Washington State Public Health Association
Susan Villani, MD, Medical Director, Schools Programs, Kennedy Krieger Institute; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Robert Weissman, co-author, Corporate Predators; Co-director, Essential Action
The Honorable Matti Wuori, Member, European Parliament, Finland

<----letter ends here---->

A copy of the letter is available in .pdf format at http://www.commercialalert.org/PDFs/uniceflet.pdf.

The UNICEF/McDonald’s news release announcing “McDonald’s World Children’s Day” is at http://www.mcdonalds.com/corporate/press/corporate/2002/07192002/index.html.

Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see Commercial Alert’s website at http://www.commercialalert.org.

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PDF Version

NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: July 31st, 2002

Coalition Asks UNICEF To Cancel McDonald's World Children's Day

An international coalition of public health professionals and activists organized by Commercial Alert today requested that UNICEF stop “lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald’s” and cancel “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.” The coalition sent the request in a letter to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

On July 19, Ms. Bellamy and McDonald’s CEO Jack Greenberg announced that they will “team up” to raise funds for children’s charities, including UNICEF, and launch “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.” The event is scheduled for November 20th, which is the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Last year, Ronald McDonald House Charities gave $5 million to UNICEF.  The letter follows.

Dear Ms. Bellamy:

On July 19, UNICEF announced its partnership with the McDonald’s Corporation to hold “McDonald’s World Children’s Day.”

In effect, UNICEF is lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain.  McDonald’s is a global leader in the marketing of junk food that is creating soaring rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that is disrupting traditional ways of food preparation in families and cultures.

It is truly a challenge to see how this partnership with McDonald’s is consistent with UNICEF’s claim to promote “good nutrition” to the world’s children.  As you know, McDonald’s markets precisely the high-added-fat, high-added-sugar junk food that undermines good nutrition for the world’s children.

McDonald’s is responsible for multi-million dollar ad campaigns that prod children to nag, whine and throw tantrums so that their parents will consent to buy them junk food.  The company’s ad campaigns deliberately foment conflict between parents and children regarding food.

It is not the proper role of UNICEF to endorse or serve as enabler for corporate activities of this kind.  Do you really think people contribute to UNICEF so that you can help corporate advertisers to manipulate innocent and impressionable children with sophisticated psychological techniques, cause strife in the home and promote the consumption of junk food?

UNICEF’s mission is to protect children from just these things.  Therefore, we urge you to reconsider your partnership with the McDonald’s Corporation, and cancel “McDonald’s World Children’s Day” immediately.

Sincerely,

Enola Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values
Monika Arora, Programme Director, HRIDAY-SHAN, India
The Honorable Danielle Auroi, Member, European Parliament, France
Belen Balanya, co-author, Europe, Inc.: Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power
Peter Barnes, Co-founder, Working Assets; author, Who Owns the Sky?
Medea Benjamin, Founding Director, Global Exchange
Stephen Bezruchka MD, MPH, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington
Louis Borgenicht, MD, Member, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens’ Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Child Development, Lesley University
Vittorio Carreri, Presidente, Giunta esecutiva, SItI; Head of the Sanitary Prevention Unit of Lombardy Region.
Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
The Honorable Ian Cohen, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas
Erica Frank, MD, MPH, Vice Chair and Associate Professor; Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington
Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Andy Harris, MD, Board of Directors, Physicians For Social Responsibility
Paul Hawken, Natural Capital Institute
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor, Yale School of Medicine
Joe Kelly, Executive Director, Dads and Daughters; and Publisher, Daughters Newsletter: For Parents of Girls
Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets
Jean Kilbourne, Author, Can’t Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think And Feel
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Senior Scientist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard University
Pieta-Rae Laut, Executive Director, Public Health Association of Austrailia
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College
Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Lida Lhotska, PhD, Regional Coordinator for Europe, International Baby Food Action Network
Susan Linn, EdD, Associate Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Alison Linnecar, International Coordinator, Geneva Infant Feeding Association
Alan H. Lockwood, MD, Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo; Past-President and Chairman, Environment and Health Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ben Manski, Co-Chair, Green Party of the United States
Mohamed Marwoun, MS, Specialist, Community Medicine, Ministry of Public Health, Saudi Arabia
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Professor, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Keven Mosley-Koehler, MS, MPH, Grant Project Manager, Group Health Community Foundation
Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Peggy O’Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Sheldon Rampton, Editor, PR Watch
Mike Rayner, DPhil, Director, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group
John Rensenbrink, US Representative, Global Green Network
The Honorable Lee Rhiannon, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director, Science and Environmental Health Network
Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College; author, The Overspent American and The Overworked American
John Stauber, Executive Director, Center for Media & Democracy; co-author, Trust Us, We’re Experts and Toxic Sludge is Good for You
Vic Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine; author, Children, Adolescents, and the Media
Karen Valenzuela, MA, MPA, Washington State Public Health Association
Susan Villani, MD, Medical Director, Schools Programs, Kennedy Krieger Institute; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Robert Weissman, co-author, Corporate Predators; Co-director, Essential Action
The Honorable Matti Wuori, Member, European Parliament, Finland

<----letter ends here---->

A copy of the letter is available in .pdf format at http://www.commercialalert.org/PDFs/uniceflet.pdf.

The UNICEF/McDonald’s news release announcing “McDonald’s World Children’s Day” is at http://www.mcdonalds.com/corporate/press/corporate/2002/07192002/index.html.

Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see Commercial Alert’s website at http://www.commercialalert.org.

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