Dirty Marketing Tricks?

How McDonald’s is Selling to Kids

It’s one thing to play dirty marketing tricks on the average man in the street, but quite another to do so on kids. Well, apparently, that’s exactly what’s been happening with corporations such as McDonald’s which is using online games “to take away parental control.” The thing is, we keep seeing studies that show that if this kind of marketing was lessened, so would the bad health of our next generation.

Parents Fight Back

But finally there has been an outcry from angry parents. Adults from the New York and San Francisco areas are trying to “curb this marketing by setting nutritional requirements for kids’ meals with toy giveaways.” Of course, McDonald’s isn’t going to take this lying down. It is in a battle against these parents through legal channels as well as enacting “pre-emptive bans of similar legislation in other states.”

The bottom line is, it’s just too easy for large corporations such as McDonald’s to access kids. Indeed it has been said that there has never been a better time for this, since they are able to “bypass parents so successfully.” Further, “online games are just the tip of McDonald’s $3 billion global marketing iceberg.” The only way that we can ensure the way food is marketed for the future is geared by parental and nutritional experts is by “demanding that McDonald’s stop marketing to kids.” It needs to be serious nutritionists – not “fast-food executives” directing how these foods are sold.

Marketing Gone OTT

It could be said that marketing has just gone over the top in recent years. It’s no longer just TV commercials (that of course can be ignored quite easily) but the interactivity of marketing techniques that will grab the attention. One example is of a Kraft Web site that asks consumers to “send a custom video to your friends to show how much you love KD [Kraft Dinner].” If you have not received a video, you are anyway able to view the whole “gallery” of videos that others have submitted. Individuals are able to log on to a whole host of commercial web pages and create their own avatars, “play with virtual pets and interact with their favorite movie, comic book and TV characters.”

This all makes it increasingly tough to fight this new, successful marketing guru. But it seems evident from the research above that parents are not going to take this lying down anymore. The question is, who is going to win? McDonald’s is an extremely large, successful corporation that is definitely going the legal route with all of this, and it thus might not be so easy for parents to fight it.

Only time will tell. But in the meantime, McDonald’s is working fearlessly to ensure it still has the upper hand when it comes to its McNuggets and cheeseburgers.

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]businessdistrict.com