by Steve Gardner
In June, my organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, gave notice to McDonald's that, unless it stopped predating on small children by offering them toys to get them to pester their parents for a Happy Meal, we would bring a state consumer protection lawsuit based on the developmental fact that young kids just don’t understand that an ad or other marketing tool is anything other than helpful advice.
McDonald's, on the other hand, is all grown up and it knows precisely what it’s doing. Roy Bergold, who was McDonald's advertising head for 29 years, recently bragged:
“Sure, we marketed to kids. As Ray Kroc said, if you had $1 to spend on marketing, spend it on kids, because they bring mom and dad. . . . Parents should totally control their kids. Yeah, right. Research says that seven-year-olds and younger accept what we say in advertising as the truth. Heck, three-year-olds can identify brands using just their corporate logos. According to a survey commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream back in 2002, the average kid asks his parent for something nine times before the parent gives in. . . . What’s a mother to do under this assault?” (My emphasis.)