November 13th, 2013

Happy Meals With McNuggets Dominate Children's Advertising

By Venessa Wong
Business Week

The average television-watching American child saw more than 1,000 ads for fast food last year, and there’s a very good chance at least one of them was for a Happy Meal. The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity analyzed how 18 large chains market to children and teens (PDF) and found that the McDonald’s (MCD) Happy Meal dominated fast-food TV commercials seen by children.

McDonald’s spent $42 million just on Happy Meal ads in 2012, the researchers estimate. The average child in the U.S. between ages 2 and 11 saw 185 Chicken McNugget Happy Meal commercials on TV last year, according to Nielsen data used in the report. The next most popular items advertised to kids include Burger King’s (BKW) Kids Meal (23.4 views per year) and Dairy Queen’s DQ Blizzard (22.9 views), although those products trailed the Happy Meal by a wide margin.

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