You have GOT to be kidding me?!

This weekend while catching up on blogs I ran across this post from Mo. Basically she found an article that bunch of people want McDonald’s mascot, Ronald McDonald, gone because they claim that he’s seducing children into wanting to eat meaty cheeseburgers and greasy french fries.

**WARNING: WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY IS NOT SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE GOING TO AGREE WITH!**

Here is my opinion; this is absolute bull-crap! YES! Bull crap! We live in a country that allows our businesses to freely market in an effort to make a profit. This applies to small one person businesses all the way to huge multinational corporations like McDonald’s. If I ever have my own business I want to be able to market myself to make a profit too! Marketing is what entices all of us to buy products and keep our businesses and economy afloat. With that said, I do think rules need to be put into place to safeguard against FALSE marketing/advertising. But I do not think that getting rid of Ronald McDonald is any way shape or form contributing to the childhood obesity problem facing our country! Not at all!

When I was a kid and when my parents were kids, junk food existed, toys were in the bottom of cereal boxes, sugar cereals were marketed during Saturday morning cartoons, and Ronald McDonald existed! Here’s the thing, in my household my parents were BOSS; not me. I did not make the rules, my parents did! When I was 7 years old I didn’t have the ability to grocery shop for myself or drive myself to a fast food restaurant. Therefore, if I wanted a sugar cereal or cookies or a happy meal I had to ask my parents and my parents had NO PROBLEMS saying no. Plain and simple…no. Did my brother and I throw fits and make scenes in grocery stores? No. Why? Because we knew we would get into trouble. We were disciplined, we were happy and we were kids, but we knew our place. In my opinion that is no longer the case in households today. I feel like kids make the rules.

I think parents should say NO. McDonald’s should not be held responsible for using Ronald McDonald as their mascot. That is absurd! Promoting Keebler cookies during Saturday morning cartoons…go for it! As a parent you should be able to say NO! When did kids make the rules? Parents rule and kids drool…sorry but that is how it should be!

Like I said, I know my opinion is definitely not shared by all (including Keith…he totally disagrees with me on this one) But I want to hear your opinions! I always like it when people have other opinions from my own because it allows me to see other sides and perspectives and be a more open-minded person. So don’t worry about disagreeing with me! 🙂

What do you think?

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74 Responses

  1. I back you on this one girl! Like you said, parents are the boss, not the kids!

  2. If anything, one look at Ronald McDonald makes me NOT want to eat!!!!!! He’s creepy!! 😉

  3. well, my comment is going to be short because i 100% agree with everything you said! parents SEEM to be so obsessed with wanting to be their kids’ FRIEND first and parent second, and that has turned children into monsters. i’m going to stop now before i get too worked up… 🙂

  4. Totally agree! Just like cookie monster! When I was a kid, cookie monster ate all the cookies he wanted. Did that mean I got to??? NO. Now…cookie monster eats cookies “only sometimes”. Give me a break!

  5. Its just like the “lets get rid of the cartoon toys happy-meals at Mcdonalds to prevent buying of fast food for kids”…what?
    doesnt’ make sense…its not toys that feed kids fast food…
    silliness for sure.

  6. You’re right- kids are kids, I really hope mine listen to me (one day) like I did my parents!

  7. I 100 percent agree with you on this. The great thing about being a parent is that you don’t have to give in to your kids. When your son says he must eat at McDonald’s because there’s a big ceramic clown in the restaurant then you can say, “No.” When he says he needs the newest, greatest, bestest video game system you don’t have to buy it. And when he says all the cool kids are smoking in the parking lot before school, you can ground him. Parents = powerful. Even better: Parents don’t have to give a reason other than “Because I said so.”

    Aside from the ridiculousness that suggests parents are controlled by clown-loving kids, there’s the idea that Ronald McDonald is actually going to draw kids in. When was the last commercial featuring Ronald? I can’t remember. And so there’s a statue of him in *some* restaurants. You really think that’s why kids want to eat there? How about the fact that the chain’s salty, fatty food practically addicts them?\

    Lastly, if we’re going to illegally prevent a company from running its own business, let’s do Burger King first. That king creeps me out.

  8. As a single mom getting healthy and raising a healthy child, I couldn’t agree with you more!!! Seriously, getting rid of Ronald is going to do any good? And why pick on him? What about the Ronald McDonald Foundation? Ronald does a lot of good things!

    • That makes me feel good because I am not a parent and I was nervous that some parents out there would take offense to my opinion!

  9. P.S. – How many kids are afraid of clowns? The creepy Ronald statues could be scaring those kids away from fast food. Godo job, Ronald! 🙂

  10. I’ve heard about this too and I totally agree with you! Ronald McDonald does not equal greasy hamburgers!!

  11. I agree with you that implementing any kind of ban on a mascot or other marketing campaign is a failure to recognize that the ultimate responsibility is with the parent. It is not McDonald’s job to keep children healthy; that role lies with the parents.

    Also, companies that make healthy food for kids have every right and ability to create fun mascots and marketing campaigns.

    • TOTALLY could not agree more!!! Those companies absolutely have that right! 100%…it is OUR responsbility to say no! If Frosted Flakes wants to use Tony The Tiger…go for it!

  12. I agree with you 150%. Ive always said pretty much exactly what you’re saying now.
    Parents need to take responsibility for their own children. Yes, maybe kids want to eat McDonalds, but that doesnt mean you have to LET them.
    Im amazed more and more everyday at the way people are these days. Everything is always someone else’s fault, no one can own up to their own problems. Its like all of a sudden we’ve started moving backwards.

  13. as a parent I totally agree with you. In my house I am the boss, total dictator. The kids are allowed to voice their opinion, but in the end, the final decision is mine. Yes we sometimes do go to McDonalds , but that is not because the clown makes us….. but now that the girls know what goes into chicken nuggets (thanks to Jamie Oliver) they won’t go near them 🙂

  14. Parents have to take responsibility for what their kids eat, plain and simple, mascots and commercials and cookie monsters notwithstanding. If our children don’t eat healthy foods, we have to share in the blame. (And like adults, they will want, and deserve, their occasional treats). Mascots are only a scapegoat for not having more meal-time discipline.

  15. TOTALLY agree with you!!! Internet, video games and no P.E. classes are contributors to why kids are fat…not Ronald McDonald or Cookie Monster.

    I also remember my mom cooking every night. Friday night we would get fast food. Not every night like many parents do these days.

  16. I agree with you Kelly – people just need to say no and own their choices. I don’t think kids go there because of Ronald McDonald anyway…. We used to occasionally go when the kids were little but after they saw parts of the movie Supersize Me, they haven’t asked. And I also appreciate Jamie Oliver – his Food Revolution has had a real impact on my youngest.

  17. I agree with you Kelly! We blame our fast food diets on everyone except ourselves. My parents never let us eat at Mickey D’s and I haven’t taken Maya there either. It has nothing to do with Ronald!

    People need to take responsibility for themselves and their kids!

    Plus I agree with someone else who said Ronald is creepy.

  18. Agreed!!!! Totally. Completely. Entirely. Whole-heatedly. Absolutely. No question about it.

  19. I’m gonna have to go with you on this one. While yes, Ronald is aimed at children, so are the countless commercials they see on TV everyday. They can’t ban Ronald without banning everything else kid related at all fast-food restaurants and possibly the kid-targeted ads for food products on TV. While they may use sleazy tactics, a company still has a right to advertise.

    And I don’t really think Ronald attracts children to McDonald’s anyway. Like a previous poster said – he’s not around a lot. What attracts the kids is the fatty tasty food. When I was young, we got McD’s as a once-in-awhile treat when my parents said so.

  20. I couldn’t agree more Kelly! Even though my kids are young they know who is boss around here.

  21. I’m totally with you on this one. If parents don’t want their kids eating there – don’t take them! They are children. They can’t get their on their own.

  22. I’ll hop on this McSoap box. I was born on Happy Meals but I’m not blaming that on a clown, come on clowns are creepy anyway:)

    Brilliant mention on marketing, absolutely.

  23. Yep. I totally agree.

  24. I agree with you about the parents. I didn’t eat much fast food as a kid because my parents didn’t let me and I don’t eat any now.

    However there is something to be said about marketing unhealthy food to kids. I just don’t know what that something is.

  25. I’m with you! I’m going to take it even a step farther and say that *gasp* I like McDonalds. Maybe I only have it once every year or two, but I think that a Quarter Pounder with cheese and fries from McDonalds is DELICIOUS. There, I said it 😛

    In general, I’m just not a big-government type of gal. So I’m usually against these sort of bills/laws.

  26. I think the only thing I need to say is AMEN!!!!!

    Parents need to be in control. They need to be parents not FRIENDS to their kids. They need to be more knowledgeable to teach their kids and set an example. Ronald McDonald or not…kids will still be eating there. Why? Because their parents do or don’t know how to say no. Grrr. I’m as enraged as you!

    • Wow…I am so glad (and surprised) that so many people support my opinion! Most of my friends here completely disagree with me!!

  27. I have to say I totally agree with you. I don’t get how the kids rule the roost today! I have parents come into me at conferences saying, “but Johnny says he doesn’t want to do his HW” or “Judy won’t turn off the tv/dvd/psp/wii”. Why do I have to explain that they are the parents they make the rules? This goes along the lines of the same thing. Great post!

  28. DITTO!! You should lead campaigns on this stuff….run for office!! Seriously! 🙂

  29. I agree with you. Advertising as a whole is a separate problem that should be addressed on its own, it is the parents who chose to feed their kids McDonalds, they are perfectly capable of saying no when their kids ask to go because they see an add on television, indeed parents are there to imbue their children with good habits, and McDonalds is not, in my opinion, a good habit.

    PS. thanks for checking out my blog.

  30. Amen, sister! I think there needs to be education steming from households in regards to things like fast food, advertisement, and the like! And I think you are right 😉

  31. I agree that companies should advertise the way they want. However, I’m not sure it’s because parents don’t say “no” and don’t run the households. I think it’s more of parents becoming busier and busier (or people in general – we’ve never worked this long away from home) and not putting the necessary time into planning meals. Therefore, cookies become the average snack and McDonald’s becomes the average meal.

    • Both my parents worked full time…8 or 9 hour days and yet they still managed to feed us healthy snacks (fruit over cookies) and my we had a family dinner every single night. I think it is about priorities and what amount of effort you are willing to put forth. Raising kids is HARD WORK and is easily a full time job in itself…but these are things I think people need to think about prior to having children.

  32. wow, interesting, and i think i agree with alot of what you said 🙂 but parents jobs would be easier w/o all the advertising…

  33. I agree with you 100%!!!! My mom just always told me NO. Parents have to set some boundaries, there will always be temptations out there!

  34. I have to say I disagree……

    Firstly, I am not saying that I believe that Ronald McDonald is the cause of childhood obesity. However, I do take issue with campaigns that actively promote unhealthy substances (such as fast food) at children. Not all parents have the ability to say “no” to their children. Single parents, parents that live below the poverty line, those who do not have any education about healthy living, are influenced both by sophisticated marketing campaigns, and by their children (also persuaded by marketing campaigns) who ask for the substances.

    For example, an article from the media awareness network states:

    “Marketers plant the seeds of brand recognition in very young children, in the hopes that the seeds will grow into lifetime relationships…. Brand loyalties can be established as early as age two, and by the time children head off to school most can recognize hundreds of brand logos…..With the help of well-paid researchers and psychologists, advertisers now have access to in-depth knowledge about children’s developmental, emotional and social needs at different ages. Using research that analyzes children’s behaviour, fantasy lives, art work, even their dreams, companies are able to craft sophisticated marketing strategies to reach young people.”

    I don’t know about you, but it disturbs me that companies are targeting young children, and actively attempting to get them ‘hooked’ on unhealthy substances, and feed habits that will likely last for the rest of their lives.

    • I see your point but I would argue that a can of green beans and a roasted chicken from a grocery store (my HEB sells a whole pre-cooked chicken for $5.99) is still cheaper than happy meals. Plus it teaches children that when they are in a hurry or when money is tight healthier options ARE still an option.

      • The issue is that there are a lot of parents out there that do not KNOW that that is an option for them. When the mass media is telling you to get a happy meal, and NOT teaching you how to eat healthfully, what are families who DON’T have education about healthy living going to choose.

        Would I ever feed my kids McDonalds? Absolutely not! BUT, I have the knowledge and education of how to eat healthfully, even when on a budget….. there are a lot of people out there that don’t. I think that is really easy to point fingers at parents and say that they need to learn how to tell their children no, but if they have been conditioned to want fast food, and don’t have any education/knowledge to combat that then it is difficult for them to teach their children the right habits.

    • Excellent point! I agree that the knowledge is DEFINITELY lacking. I whole-heartedly support education reform to better teach our society about basic nutrition! I am always surprised when I meet with clients and more than half don’t even know how to read a nutrition label. So sad!!

    • I have to say that I agree with Alex.

      While I do see your point, Kelly, about parents needing to be in control (and agree with this 100%), food companies purposely market to children because they are young and impressionable. Furthermore, if you look at where most fast food restaurants are located, they tend to cluster in low income neighborhoods that do not have access to large grocery stores or health food stores. Combine all this with a major lack of education regarding healthy choices and a busy society that places value on fast, easy meals and you have a recipe for disaster!! So while I do not blame Ronald McD for causing childhood obesity (nor do I think banning him will solve the problem), I do think it’s awful how actively these companies market to kids. Unhealthy habits are learned really early in life, and obese kids are way more likely to become obese adults. It’s a scary trend and places like McD’s are just perpetuating the problem.

  35. why do people even bring their children into McD’s or any fast food? Skylar is 3.5 yrs old and has never had any fastfood. Ever. Nor will she til she can drive there herself and buy it, if she chooses. She is a high raw vegetarian. It’s possible to raise children who will never ever put that food in their bodies. It takes alot more work though. I do the work 🙂

  36. i couldn’t agree more with you!! I really don’t think he makes kids want to eat a burger more so than wendy from wendys or the big crown from burger king. It all comes down to what someone wants, likes and can afford. Regardless, fast food should be avoided anyways…

  37. I agree with you a million percent! Parents need to PARENT, it may be tough, but it’s your job to say no and set the right example, not a business, the TV or the government.

  38. I do think parents should be in charge and believe me I will have no problem saying no. My parents didn’t give us fast food or sugary cereals growing up, and I don’t usually eat it now nor do I plan to feed it to my kids. I just think that marketing in general has gotten out of control as has the number of fast food places. I have just as much of a problem with putting “good source of fiber” on Fruit Loops. Some parents aren’t as knowlegable about what is ok and what’s not and the bright colors, misleading statments, and simple ease of unhealthy options is killing our children.

    • Really good point! I totally agree that saying “a good source of fiber” on a box of sugar cereal is crazy but I think there should be standards/rules about advertising and marketing in a more honest manner. But I don’t think Toucan Sam is to blame for making children want that cereal.

  39. Welcome back!

    I agree 100% with you. It seems these days, people want to put blame on someone else and not be responsible for how they raise their kids. Growing up, we ate fast food alot and went out to restaurants more than my mom cooked. I wish my parents would have taken more responsibility or taught me how to eat right. But unfortunately, I had to learn all that on my own.

  40. Thanks for the shout-out, and I’m glad so many people agree. I was afraid it’d offend someone (especially parents, so I’m glad to see at least one comment from a parent who agreed). Obviously I know nothing about parenting but I like to think that when I do have a kid or two, I’ll say no, but also take the time to explain why I’m saying no, beyond just, “Because it’s bad for you.”

    I was a rather easy child (never had a binky because I was really quiet :P) and half the time I was too afraid to ask for anything ’cause I was afraid of being repetitive haha. So like, I’d always WISH that my mom would suddenly decide to pull into the drive-through but I rarely actually asked for it. But I’ve been told no before and that was that. Of course I always had to try both parents to see if they had contrasting opinions, but still. 😉 Point is, it never really upset me when they said no. “We have food at home” was enough for me, and unless you have a REALLY spoiled child, it should be enough for most kids too.

  41. I agree with you, it is absolutely a parent’s job to say no. However, as a parent with a child who is just starting to be influenced by advertising, it would be easier if all the marketing campaigns weren’t so dang effective, but that is my job as Mom. I am not their friend and that is not what kids want or need from their parents. Caving in is easy and that is why a lot of people do it with their kids, actual parenting is hard and sometimes they get mad and they cry and even say mean things to you, but that is just part of the deal. With families having two working parents and people working longer hours than ever I think that a lot of moms and dads are quite honestly just too tired to put up the good fight and they feel like giving them whatever they want sort-of makes up for spending so much time away from their kids.

    I don’t have trouble with mine wanting fast food, but he always asks for more toys and “convenience” foods (chips, snacks, etc.) BUT…he wouldn’t be asking for all those things if he watched less tv so that is something I am working on at home. I always get tickled at my son when he wants something to eat and I start making him something or cutting up fruit or veggies…he whines, “No, momma don’t cook it!” He is already getting used to the convenience of packaged food because of getting it a lot from other people…I am by no means perfect, but I really limit that stuff when he is home with me.

  42. Totes agree with you darling.

  43. wow you got quite the response on this one! i’ll admit, i’m somewhat surprised you don’t have more “i disagree” comments. not that i disagree. but i don’t totally agree either. i agree that getting rid of ronald is completely ridiculous and wouldn’t help anything. however, i am a big supporter in getting rid of mcdonalds toys. in our home, the parents have the final say and the kids respect this. they are fed well and have good habits BUT, i swear, i cannot even take my kids to the grocery store with me. i feel so bad every time we leave after i’ve said “no, that’s not good for you” or “no, we don’t eat that food” over and over again. they do not have the mental capacity to understand why they can’t have what everyone else is having no matter how much i try to explain it to them. the mcdonalds toys are THE ONLY reason my kids ever ask for mcdonalds and it drives me crazy. if the toys didn’t exist, it would be just like when i don’t take them to the store with me; what they don’t know won’t hurt them. i’ve even gone so far as to try and just buy the toys w/o the happy meal!

    as always, great post kelly!

  44. It’s funny – I LOVED McDonald’s when I was growing up and my parents would occasionally buy if for me. Since it wasn’t forbidden, I never really craved it. I never really eat fast food now (give me veggies instead, please!), but I think it’s a good idea not to make any food “off limits”. It will just make kids want it more!

    • That is exactly how I grew up! Nothing was ever forbidden or labeled as a “bad food” therefore we never threw fits when we didn’t get something we wanted.

  45. […] May 25, 2010 by Kelly Happy Tuesday guys! So I am pleased to see that 99% of you agreed with me yesterday about blaming Ronald McDonald for tempting kids to eat junk food. That is just craziness to […]

  46. I would love for them to get rid of Ronald McDonald, but only because he scares the crap out of me. I love the Hamburgler though. He should take over the top spot.

  47. I completely agree with you on this! Besides, Ronald really helps keep us away…he is freaky!

  48. I think parents should absolutely be in charge for their child’s nutrition, but all food has its place.

    I would never deny my kids sugary cereal or mcdonalds though, those foods can be fun too.

    I had access to all foods growing up and had a very well rounded diet and I think in my opinion, that works best.

  49. Amen,Sister!!:-)cc

  50. Totally disagree. Who’s driving these kids to McDonalds? Parents. Who’s shelling out the money? Parents.

    My kids ask for McDonalds and I say no. My kids ask for soda and I say no (the occasional special treat is fine but if they had their way they’d drink it all the time, eat ice cream too).

    I’m a marketer and know that marketers and advertisers will stoop low for the mighty dollar but as a consumer your vote is in the money you hand over. If you don’t want your kids to eat McDonalds, don’t take them there.

  51. Whoops, sorry about that! Just realized that you and I were on the same page. I had a friend post on this topic recently too, only she was of the opposing opinion. I assumed you were too. My bad!!!

    And so with that … right on sister!!! Totally agree with you. 🙂

  52. […] this morning was just the same old thing. So, what I want to talk about it is going back to my post on Ronald McDonald from Monday. Most of you agreed with me that a cartoonish mascot is not directly […]

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