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Fire Ronald McDonald?


Business is tough – even for McDonald’s. Competition is heavy, fuel prices are hurting margins, oh, and there are the activist groups, Michelle Obama, and now the nuns!

According to the Wall Street Journal on May 18, “More than 550 health professionals and organizations have signed a letter to McDonald’s Corp. asking the maker of Happy Meals to stop marketing junk food to kids and retire Ronald McDonald.”

In an effort to call out McDonald’s on the childhood-obesity issue, Corporate Accountability International is working with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, which own about $2,000 of the company’s stock, to offer a proposal at McDonald’s shareholder’s meeting today. The proposal asks McDonald’s board of directors to issue a report “assessing the company’s policy responses to public concerns regarding linkages of fast food to childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children’s health.”

We’ve been following the attacks on McDonald’s for some time now. Our post “John Stewart Makes UnHappy Meals Hilarious” on Jan 5th was memorable. We’ve also documented the attempts to put Tony the Tiger to pasture.

But who really wants McDonald’s to stop serving Happy Meals? Who wants Tony the Tiger to stop roaring “They’re Grrrrreat!” Apparently not many. In an unscientific poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal 78.1 percent of those polled do not think McDonald’s should retire Ronald McDonald.

It is our view that mandating what businesses can sell, how businesses market their products, and what businesses can do with their earned income is wrong. McDonald’s sells and markets Happy Meals because there is demand. If the demand stops Happy Meals will fade into the sunset. It is wrong to think that fighting childhood obesity begins with Happy Meals. The source of the problem is with the consumer. If consumers want Happy Meals and McDonald’s is forced to discontinue selling them…guess what? The consumer goes elsewhere and buys an alternative.

Social engineering through corporations is a bad idea.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 48colorrainbow permalink
    05/19/2011 7:43 am

    Hasn’t McDonald’s started making healthier options available in Happy Meals? If so, I don’t see a problem with Ronald staying around.

  2. 05/19/2011 10:03 am

    I’ll have to agree with 48colorrainbow and say that Ronald and Tony make their products unique and more recognizable to the public. McDonald’s & Ronald and Frosted Flakes & Tony should never be separated. Keeping the characters around will only strengthen the brands and leave more opportunities for marketing growth. Please check out our website for more insight into the world of advertising and marketing!

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