To a kid, everything’s better in a McDonald’s wrapper.
The Chicago Sun Times recently reported, Are your kids McDonald’s brainwashed?
The article follows research by Stanford University’s associate professor of pediatrics, Dr Tom N. Robinson. The study, involving 63 children aged 3–5, had the kids taste the exact same McDonald’s food, wrapped in branded and un-branded packaging. Every time, the food in the un-branded wrappers lost the taste test.
Granted, the study probably would’ve been better if the familiar brand was compared to another familiar brand, rather than to none at all, but do you think advertisers go too far?
A McDonald’s spokesperson said this:
The fact is, parents make the decisions for their children and our research confirms that we’ve earned their trust as a responsible marketer based on decades of delivering the safest food.
Some of you will know that I don’t have any kids, so I’m not qualified to speak on the persuasiveness of fiesty children. To the parents out there, how persuasive can your little ones actually be about what they get?
Cam Beck has initiated an interesting debate on this subject over at Marketing Profs Daily Fix. Cam has this to say:
When are we going to stop looking to government to fix our inability to say “no” to our kids? I really don’t care how much money McDonald’s spends on advertising to children, because three things are true:
1. One Big Mac or Happy Meal, when consumed properly, is not going to kill me or my kids;
2. Thus, marketing them is not an inherently immoral act; and
3. I can always say “No” to prevent excess.
Is it okay to advertise to children?
Pradeep Chintagunta, a University of Chicago marketing professor, said:
I don’t think you can necessarily hold this against McDonald’s, since the goal of marketing is to build familiarity.
Should McDonald’s be held accountable for their advertising actions? Does the responsibility lie 100% in the hands of the parent? I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this topic, which I can understand, considering I’ve made it a question of morality. I’m very interested to know what you think here, as I value your opinion, and you (my readers) have previously given me lots of food for thought (no pun intended).
- McDonald’s and Mere Exposure
- If It Says McDonald’s, Then It Must Be Good
- Pre-school branding?
- McDonald’s Wrappers: Making Food Tastier?
- McDonald’s burger taste better than plain paper: the power of advertising