Putting on the pounds

Morgan Spurlock, agent provocateur of anti-McDonalds documentary, Super Size Me, returns with a book called “Don’t Eat This Book”, exclusively extracted in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday. Adults clearly bear much responsibility for the kind of food their children are consuming, but as Spurlock suggests, “they’re going up against billions and billions of dollars spent every year in corporate marketing, all aimed at teaching kids to make exactly the opposite sorts of choices.”

“…McDonald’s marketing genius M Lawrence Light – the guy who rolled out the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ campaign – wants to surround the youth of the world with McDonald’s brand images. ‘Light wants to turn everything he can into an ad for McDonald’s,’ wrote Business Week magazine in July 2004. “He’s pushing the Oak Brook chain to open clothing shops so kids will walk around in T-shirts with the Golden Arches logo, just as they already do with Old Navy or Disney. He envisions a deal with the National Basketball Association to play the five-note tagline of the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ ad in the stadium every time a player shoots a three-pointer. He’s even toying with making the jingle available over the internet so it could be downloaded as a mobile phone ring tone.”

Some may argue that McDonalds has the right to advertise to whomever it chooses. True enough in our economic system, but surely there is a need for debate around the ways in which young children are being sold a message of “consume and be happy”.

It’d be a pleasant thought indeed to see companies like McDonalds sued by concerned parents who argue that their children are not happy after consuming a Big Mac. False advertising?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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