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  • The Nanny State vs. McDonald's (and Shrek Happy Meal Toys)

    First, McDonald’s was sued because its coffee was just too darned hot; now they’re being sued because their Happy Meal toys are just too darned good at marketing food to kids.

    The Washington, DC, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has served McDonald’s a letter of intent to sue in California court “if the fast-food chain continues to use toys to promote Happy Meals.” Why? They say the toys lure kids into eating unhealthy foods:

    “McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” said CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner. “McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity—all this to induce children to prefer foods that may harm their health. It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

    This is not the first attempt to take the “Happy” out of the Happy Meal. Santa Clara County, Calif., officials banned the brightly-colored toys included in kids’ meals. But now the Golden State battle with the Golden Arches is moving from county government to the courtroom.

    How exactly is it that “McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority”? Nothing about the toys prevents a parent from just saying “no,” and it’s not as if children have secret sources of income and vehicles to get them through the drive-through. The ideology behind all this is clearly condescending to both parents and business. The message is, “Parents, you are far too stupid to manage your children’s diets. And businesses, you are far too greedy to be allowed to effectively market your products.”

    Marketing campaigns are about creatively engaging an audience to sell a product. It’s as basic as that. “Shrek” toys appear in Happy Meals because it’s mutually beneficial for Dreamworks and McDonald’s to cross-promote their products. And if parents don’t like it, they can take their business elsewhere. As The Heritage Foundation notes, “Central to the American idea is the notion that individual dignity necessarily includes the freedom to work hard, be creative and get ahead in life without interference by the state.”

    Vincent Coglianese is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The Nanny State vs. McDonald's (and Shrek Happy Meal Toys)

    1. Lynn Alexander, Rich says:

      Nanny state is a great heading for this article! Parents are completely able to decide what and where to let their children eat. What about the parents who feed their children nutritious, wholesome, food most of the time, and reserve McDonald’s for special occasions? They are being judged unfairly by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who should be renamed, the Center for Junk Science in the Interest of Public Control. Comparing McDonald’s to creepy, pedophiles is just irresponsible. The CSPI claims that McDonald’s use of toys, undercuts parental authority, when it is clear that’s a job they seek for themselves.

    2. Tarrytown, NY says:

      Isn't this what Cracker Jacks started many, many years ago? Get your free prize inside the box. Can someone tell our Socialist government, it's called Marketing 101

    3. Charles Kyriacou, Ta says:

      Isn't this what Cracker Jacks started many decades ago? Get your free prize inside the box. Can someone tell our Socialist government it's called Marketing.

    4. Joe Army Base says:

      Keep your eyes on your fries folks and make sure you keep your freedom in your front pocket. Big Brother is coming for both of them.

    5. The Elephant's Child, Seattle says:

      The Center for Science in the Public Interest is the Chief Nanny of the food police. They are basically opposed to anything that you might like. The Director believes, according to Activist Cash, that bread and carrots would be a reasonably perfect diet.

      They have been behind every obnoxious Nanny attack in recent years. Nutcases, every one. There is a certain preciousness about food these days, assuming that there is somehow a “perfect” diet that will overcome illness, fat, disease and old age.
      There isn’t. and it won’t. Moderation in all things, and pay no attention to the Nannys, who want only funding to keep them from having to do honest work.

    6. ChooseMeals, Kansas says:

      I completely agree that parents should be the ones to decide what food is best for their children. This lawsuit was supposed to be in the interest of the public, but a large number of people seem to be speaking out against it.

      Concerned citizens and parents attacked the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) Facebook page regarding their potential lawsuit against McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys.

      Read the posts outraged parents left on CPSI’s Facebook: http://freetochooseourmeals.com/parents-attack-ce

      Bob Cutler, CEO of Creative Consumer Concepts (C3), addressed CSPI’s ridiculous claims and the possibility of the unnecessary lawsuit. “This lawsuit is CSPI and the government over-reaching. Parents are capable of choosing what their children should eat. This issue pries on public sensitivity for issues such as obesity, the poor or the unemployed, which nobody can stand against without looking completely insensitive,” said Cutler.

      FreeToChooseOurMeals.com is for anyone who wants to choose what they eat! Visit Twitter: @ChooseMeals for more information about what you can do to protect consumer choice and stop these ridiculous issues.

    7. Pingback: Little Kids and the Liberal Sex Ed Movement | RedState

    8. Pete, Virginia says:

      Where does 'parent accountability' weigh-in on what the children eat – healthy, unhealthy, or otherwise?

    9. Pingback: The Daily Show Mocks San Francisco’s Happy Meal Ban | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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