Send in the Clowns
News Views & How-To's

Send in the Clowns

It was announced recently in the news that McDonald's had received a letter in the form of full-page ads signed by 550 health professionals and organizations demanding that they stop marketing to kids and retire Ronald McDonald. My overall impression is that we've given up on moms and dads taking responsibility for what their children eat.

This impression was strengthened when one of my fellow employees here at Roland DG confided that she recently received a note from her children's school notifying her that if she ever allowed her children to show up at school again with chips or fruit bites in their lunches, she would be fined.

Photo by Kai Brinker

Signmakers and commercial printers catering to restaurant and fast food chains enjoyed a bonanza this past year due to regulations requiring the posting of calories. A number of cities and states passed ordinances requiring new menus and menu boards, then revoked them early this year when the FDA said it would post their own rules. The printed materials quickly found their way into trash bins as new boards and menus — minus the calorie information — replaced them. Meanwhile, a few studies have appeared that suggest eating behaviors were affected minimally or not at all by the caloric information.

I agree that some parents lack wisdom regarding nutrition. And kids obviously love sweet and fatty foods. (Me, too.) However, I can see where this effort to legislate healthy eating is headed.

Someday soon, I fear, you'll be arrested for eating a hamburger in a public place. Otherwise upstanding citizens will be forced to hide behind closed doors while furtively munching their Big Macs. French fries will become popular on the black market, sold on dark street corners by greasy-fingered potato pushers. School children will be strip searched for Snicker Bars. The nightly television news will be filled with police chases following moms spotted with Cheetos in their shopping carts. Ronald McDonald and Jack from Jack in the Box will spend the rest of their lives behind bars eating broccoli.

But just think about all those new warning signs, stickers and posters that would be required. It could happen.

Patrick Kersey

Patrick Kersey

Patrick Kersey is Global Public Relations Director at Roland DGA. His professional background includes over 35 years in marketing both for advertising agencies and on the client side. He is also a published author.