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Ronald McDonald is back in da house


Not sure if you’ve noticed…but oddly enough, McDonald’s has been popping up in the news a lot lately.

It’s as though their PR and marketing teams are trying to change the greater audience’s perspective of the world’s largest hamburger fast food chain.

Nation’s Restaurant News were the first to report that

The red-headed clown, McDonald’s mascot for decades, will star in several new commercials advertising Happy Meals, encouraging children to visit the HappyMeal.com website, where they can upload pictures of themselves to be integrated into Ronald McDonald videos, a McDonald’s Corp. representative said Friday.

It will be interesting to see if McDonald’s can bring the children of this great tech age, to love the mascot that we all grew up with.

Further, as quoted in the WSJ:

The idea to instill demand directly in children, who will then pressure their parents, clearly works, Mr. Hanft [chief executive of marketing firm Hanft Projects] said. “But the problem with creating these little armies of kids is that you turn the parents against the brand,” he added.

On Tuesday, NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie announced:

his plan to introduce legislation that would ban toys from being included in unhealthy meals at fast food restaurants.

His proposed bill

would prohibit restaurants from distributing toys or other knickknacks geared toward children in meals that have more than 500 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium and 35 percent of calories from fat, excluding nuts, seeds and nut butters.

According to data compiled by Comrie’s office, McDonald’s Happy Meal contains 1,090 calories, Burger King’s Kid’s Meal contains 1,460 calories, Wendy’s kid’s portion meal contains 1,080 calories and KFC’s Kid Meal contains 680 calories.

If you recall my previous post No More Happy Meal toys for you (children in San Fran), in November of last year, San Francisco was the first US city to ban restaurants giving free toys with meals.

But not to end on a completely sour note for Ronald…the company formally announced its plan to hire 50,000 new US workers on April 19th.

McDonald’s said the hiring blitz would increase its U.S. workforce by 7.7 percent to 700,000 — which is no different from prior summer staff increases.

So what have we learned from all of this?  Just like any business in the marketplace, every company (established or not) has to revamp its marketing once-in-a-while (Ronald), and spend money (hire people), in order to compete and stay top-of-mind.

(Note: I tried to find a copy of the commercial online to no avail…so instead I leave you with one from the 80’s).

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Filed under: Business, Food, Marketing, , , , , , ,

No more Happy Meal toys for you (children in San Fran)


San Francisco has officially become the first major US city to ban restaurants from giving free toys with meals that contain high levels of calories, sugar and fat.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization)

Childhood obesity is already epidemic in some areas and on the rise in others. An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. According to the US Surgeon General, in the USA the number of overweight children has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has trebled since 1980.

The estimated number of overweight children under the age of 5 (worldwide) is equivalent, in size, to the entire population of Australia.

Mind boggling.

While the move by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is definitely a step in the right direction, I find it sort of ironic that on a list of the America’s fattest US cities, San Francisco comes in last.  With San Francisco holding ground as the fittest city in the US, I’m not sure how much of an influence their new ban will have on the rest of the US.

Filed under: Business, Food, World, , , , , , , , , ,

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