McDonald’s and Burger King agreed to advertise only healthy food offerings as part of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. Let’s see if they’ve kept their word.
When it comes to child marketing, McDonald’s and Burger King are selling the experience, not the food.
The above study, funded and published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has found the two largest fast food corporations aren’t as dumb as they look. They’ve figured out that showcasing their food is actually a bad idea. Obviously McDonald’s and Burger King cannot self-regulate their ads aimed at children. The facts are anything but elementary, as the tactics of these fast food behemoths are prolonging the childhood obesity epidemic. One-third of our children remain obese.
99 percent of all fast food ads aimed at children came courtesy of two companies.
Any guesses? Not a tough one here, folks. McDonald’s and Burger King placed 44,602 and 37,210 ads aimed at kids, respectively. This is disconcerting. Despite big fast food’s efforts to increase healthy offerings, the burgers, fries, and nuggets peddled in kid’s meals are highly caloric, highly fatty, and highly processed. To this day, no one really knows what McDonald’s chicken nuggets are made of.
Side note: A 3.3oz serving of McDonald’s eggs, which should be one of their healthiest menu items, contains 20 ingredients and 173 percent of your daily cholesterol intake. Just sayin’.
Disney is the most nutritionally responsible children’s network.
Disney and all of its networks are currently phasing out junk food advertisements. By 2021, you won’t be able to turn on the Disney Channel and see commercials for sugary cereals, fast food chains, or candy. Big props to Disney for being a minor offender, as Cartoon Network accounted for most fast food ads at 32 percent and Nickelodeon followed at 30 percent.
Disney is the first company to self-regulate its ads where government regulation is non-existent.
Not only will there no longer be junk food ads on Disney networks, but all ads must meet a self-imposed healthy criteria. For example, any cereal with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving won’t make the cut. Disney has also blacklisted Capri Sun and Lunchables. In a little over a year, McDonald’s and Burger King ads will not be seen on Disney.
Fast food ads aimed at kids barely show the actual food.
Images of food take up a paltry 20 percent of the television screen on average. Instead, McDonald’s and Burger King choose to highlight their storefronts, play rooms, movie trailers and tie-ins, and kid’s meal toys. The most prevalent words used in ads geared toward kids are toys, movies, and movie characters. In adult ads, the most used words are related to food taste, portion size, and price.
In an example of self-regulation gone wrong, the infographic reveals McDonald’s and Burger King have not held up their end of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. A playful slap on the wrist is sure to come, the fast food giants will continue to go unpunished as they market to kids, and the child obesity epidemic will grow exponentially in the wrong direction.