FW: [guilfin] RONALD McDONALD ADS BAN BID - You Can Help! (fwd)
gburnett at unisonfree.net
Wed Jan 26 07:13:24 EST 2000
I hope this isn't considered inappropriate for the Permaculture lists;
From: Kiff [mailto:dchaisty at thecomputer.co.uk]
Sent: 26 January 2000 00:58
To: Emma Ramet
Subject: [guilfin] RONALD McDONALD ADS BAN BID - You Can Help! (fwd)
*** Beginning of forwarded message ***
Date: 25-Jan-00 11:58:00
From: kat fisher <kat.fisher at england.com>
Subject: [guilfin] RONALD McDONALD ADS BAN BID - You Can Help!
--- Forwarded message follows ---
From: "kat fisher" <kat.fisher at england.com>
McLibel Support Campaign
c/o London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX.
Tel/Fax 0171 713 1269 / mclibel at globalnet.co.uk / www.mcspotlight.org
RONALD McDONALD ADS BAN BID - You Can Help!
We are supporting a campaign to get all McDonald's ads banned by the
Independent Television Commission. This is on the grounds that the High
Court judgment that McDonald's 'expoit children' [and other findings,
including that their food has been deceptively promoted as 'nutritious'
in fact it is high in fat and salt and therefore linked to heart
means that their ads contravene the Guidelines that are supposed to
advertising in order to protect children. It is all explained
comprehensively in the letter below. Legal action is being prepared to
the ITC to take action on this issue. The following standard letter has
written for people to add their name to.
PLEASE EMAIL IT TO THE ITC - pam.john at itc.org.uk
Please circulate the letter widely...
Dave, McLibel Support Campaign
* * * * * * * * *
DO YOU WANT TO HELP STOP McDONALDS ADVERTISING EXPLOITING CHILDREN?
PLEASE SEND THIS COMPLAINT [OR DO YOUR OWN] TO THE INDEPENDENT
To: ITC, Advertisements & Complaints
33 Foley Street, London, W1P 7LB, UK
<pam.john at itc.org.uk>
From: <your name & address>
Dear Stephen Locke [Director - Advertising and Sponsorship],
Re: McDonald's Advertising
I wish to make a serious complaint about the current television
advertising of McDonalds Restaurants Ltd aimed at or viewed by children.
find below my reasons. [The rules quoted are found on your web site].
Under the ITC Code, all advertisements must comply in every respect
with the law, and be applied in the spirit as well as the letter.
Appendix 1, Rule 5: Advertisements must not exhort children to purchase
to ask their parents or others to make enquiries or purchases.
In the recent McLibel trial [McDonalds Corporation & Anr vs Steel &
Morris], trial judge Mr Justice Bell ruled that it is a fact that
exploit children by using them, as more susceptible subjects of
advertising, to pressurise their parents into going to McDonalds (June
McDonalds have accepted (in a written submission to the Court of
5.1.99) that the judge was correct in his conclusions. That is to say,
they accept that they exploit children through their advertising - in
contravention of the ITCs published rules governing advertising to
children. In fact, their strategy of systematic exploitation of
is obviously far more serious than if they were to make a specific
to this in a single advert (which is prohibited). Every parent of a
child, who has been subjected to this cumulative pester-power effect,
this very real and infuriating pressure to go to McDonalds.
The Corporation spends 2 billion dollars each year worldwide on
and advertising. In a recent interview [24.5.99] Mike Love, McDonalds
Vice-President of Communications, stated that McDonalds would not
changing its advertising strategy because of the judgement of Mr.
Bell, showing an absolute disregard for what the Courts judge to be
This demonstrates that McDonalds will continue to exploit children for
foreseeable future, unless they are stopped by the ITC.
There can be no doubt about your power and responsibility in this
July 3rd 1997, when asked about the McLibel judgment, Junior Government
Minister Mark Fischer [for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport, also responsible for the ITC] stated: The Government recognise
special responsibility to protect children from exploitation, but the
existing Code allows the ITC scope to act in their defence.
McDonalds produce Happy Meals for children which are advertised as such.
However, their Happy Meal Premiums (free toys) do not always come in
4. Their 101 Dalmatian Disney collection came in a set of 101
different toys. That set was produced in sealed white plastic wrappers.
That resulted in children not knowing which of the 101 entirely
toys they were to receive. McDonalds have also produced the Beanie
Babies premiums in a set of 30. These premiums run for 4 weeks, backed up
advertisements directed at children.
It is well known that children wish to collect anything collectable.
However, to produce a large number over a four-week period, with the
character of the toy unknown at the point of sale creates unnecessary
competitiveness amongst children to be the first to collect the entire
or to collect the entire set at all. This amplifies the pester-power
problem in contravention to Rule 5. The above is born out by the very
that some of the sales of McDonalds Happy Meal premiums had to have
restrictions placed upon them, as so many adults and children alike
buy as many as they could [5.1.99] and the stores could not meet the
Guidance Rule 10.36 states: Advertisements must not encourage or
excessive consumption of any food. - The increase in meals per week
needed to buy a substantial number of the premiums per four weekly cycle
likely to lead to an increase in consumption of food low in fibre, and
in fat and salt. This will lead to a detrimental, long term effect on a
childs physical health, also in contravention with Rule 1 (below).
Appendix 1, Rule 1 states: At times when large numbers of children are
likely to be viewing, no product or service may be advertised and no
(my emphasis) of advertising may be used which might result in harm to
physically (my emphasis), mentally, or morally, and no method of
advertisement may be employed which takes advantage of the natural
and sense of loyalty (my emphasis) of children.
But the McDonalds Corporation's secret 'Operations Manual', the
book for every local store manager, explains the companys strategy for
targeting young children: 'Ronald loves McDonald's and McDonald's food.
so do children, because they love Ronald. Remember, children exert a
phenomenal influence when it comes to restaurant selection. This means
should do everything you can to appeal to children's love for Ronald and
McDonald's'. It adds that offering toys is one of the best things...to
them loyal supporters. In the witness box during the McLibel trial
Green, the Corporation's Head of Marketing, from Chicago, recognised
McDonalds could change peoples eating habits, and said that children
were 'virgin ground as far as marketing is concerned'. Their UK
Services Manager Alistair Fairgreave stated: 'It is our [general]
to dominate the communications arena...because we are competing for a
of the customer's mind.'
The Court of Appeal, in the appeal by the defendants in the McLibel
concluded: If one eats enough McDonalds food, ones diet may well
high in fat etc., with the very real risk of heart disease<sum>(this last
finding) must have a serious effect on their trading reputation since it
goes to the very business in which they are engaged. (March 1999) In
original trial the judge had ruled that such a risk of heart disease
be made the more likely for people who ate at McDonalds often and over
long period of time encouraged by [McDonalds] advertising. He further
ruled that McDonalds deceptively portray their food, in reality high in
and salt and low in fibre, as nutritious. These three rulings, taken
together, and compounded with the targeting and exploitation of
children (who are the most vulnerable to the manipulation of long-term
patterns) surely demonstrate a conscious and systematic breach of the
spirit and the letter of the ITC Guidelines. McDonalds view children as
future customers, and so wish to introduce them into a life of eating
this kind of unhealthy food regularly from an early age. This is seriously
detrimental to their health.
For the above reasons I urge the ITC to cease all McDonalds
advertisements that are directed at children. I then urge the ITC to review
and their implementation, regarding advertisements to children - to ensure
effective protection against exploitation and pester-power, and to
include the banning of advertising of unhealthy food products. There is a
deal of concern over these issues, shared by many child welfare,
consumer and health organisations* - and the need for a review has been very
carefully outlined to you on their behalf in the past by the National
Alliance [now known as Sustain] Working Party on Advertising. It should
noted that in Australia no advertising is allowed during pre-school
programming, and in Sweden all advertising to children is banned.
I look forward to reading a considered opinion within the next 28 days.
* E.g. Association of Community Health Councils, British Dietetic
Association, National Heart Forum, GMB Union, Institute of Trading
Administration, The Childrens Society, National Confederation of Parent
Teachers Associations, National Farmers Union, National Federation of
Consumer Groups, TGWU, UK Public Health Association, World Cancer
Note: All the references regarding McDonalds and the McLibel trial can
supplied on request by the McLibel Support Campaign: 5, Caledonian Rd,
London N1 mclibel at globalnet.co.uk www.mcspotlight.org
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