March 27th, 2012

Does This Look Like Health Food?

By Katy Bachman

Perhaps nothing illustrates the debate over marketing food to kids better than the current ad campaign for the revamped, healthier Happy Meal from McDonald’s.

An animated TV spot targeting children 8 to 11 from Leo Burnett hits all the hot spots of the obesity uproar. In the ad, a kid named Ferris teaches his pet goat to eat a better diet of fruit and dairy, aided by a catchy rhyme reminiscent of Mother Goose. There’s no mention of burgers or the much smaller portion of fries in the new Happy Meal, which features apple slices and fat-free chocolate milk.

“For the first time, 100 percent of our national marketing efforts to kids [under 12] will include nutrition or active lifestyle messages,” says Neil Golden, chief marketing officer of McDonald’s USA.

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