FW: [guilfin] RONALD McDONALD ADS BAN BID - You Can Help! (fwd)

Graham Burnett gburnett at unisonfree.net
Wed Jan 26 07:13:24 EST 2000


I hope this isn't considered inappropriate for the Permaculture lists;

-----Original Message-----
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)


Hi ya, 

*** 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!

Dear friends,

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'
when
in fact it is high in fat and salt and therefore linked to heart
disease]
means that their ads contravene the Guidelines that are supposed to
regulate
advertising in order to protect children. It is all explained
comprehensively in the letter below. Legal action is being prepared to
force
the ITC to take action on this issue. The following standard letter has
been
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...

best wishes,

Dave, McLibel Support Campaign


                *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


DO YOU WANT TO HELP STOP McDONALDS ADVERTISING EXPLOITING CHILDREN?
THEN
PLEASE SEND THIS COMPLAINT [OR DO YOUR OWN] TO THE INDEPENDENT
TELEVISION
COMMISSION....

To: ITC, Advertisements & Complaints
33 Foley Street, London, W1P 7LB, UK
<pam.john at itc.org.uk>

From: <your name & address>

Date: <date>

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.
Please
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
or
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
McDonalds
exploit children by using them, as more susceptible subjects of
advertising, to pressurise their parents into going to McDonalds (June
1997)

McDonalds have accepted (in a written submission to the Court of
Appeal,
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
direct
contravention of the ITCs published rules governing advertising to
children. In fact, their strategy of systematic exploitation of
pester-power
is obviously far more serious than if they were to make a specific
reference
to this in a single advert (which is prohibited). Every parent of a
young
child, who has been subjected to this cumulative pester-power effect,
knows
this very real and infuriating pressure to go to McDonalds.

The Corporation spends 2 billion dollars each year worldwide on
marketing
and advertising. In a recent interview [24.5.99] Mike Love, McDonalds
Vice-President of Communications, stated that McDonalds would not
consider
changing its advertising strategy because of the judgement of Mr.
Justice
Bell, showing an absolute disregard for what the Courts judge to be
true.
This demonstrates that McDonalds will continue to exploit children for
the
foreseeable future, unless they are stopped by the ITC.

There can be no doubt about your power and responsibility in this
matter. On
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
their
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
sets of
4.  Their 101 Dalmatian Disney collection came in a set of 101
distinctly
different toys.  That set was produced in sealed white plastic wrappers.
That resulted in children not knowing which of the 101 entirely
different
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
by
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
set,
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
fact
that some of the sales of McDonalds Happy Meal premiums had to have
restrictions placed upon them, as so many adults and children alike
tried to
buy as many as they could [5.1.99] and the stores could not meet the
demand.

Guidance Rule 10.36 states: Advertisements must not encourage or
condone
excessive consumption of any food.  -  The increase in meals per week
needed to buy a substantial number of the premiums per four weekly cycle
is
likely to lead to an increase in consumption of food low in fibre, and
high
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
method
(my emphasis) of advertising may be used which might result in harm to
them
physically (my emphasis), mentally, or morally, and no method of
advertisement may be employed which takes advantage of the natural
credulity
and sense of loyalty (my emphasis) of children.

But the McDonalds Corporation's secret 'Operations Manual', the
instruction
book for every local store manager, explains the companys strategy for
targeting young children: 'Ronald loves McDonald's and McDonald's food.
And
so do children, because they love Ronald. Remember, children exert a
phenomenal influence when it comes to restaurant selection. This means
you
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
make
them loyal supporters.  In the witness box during the McLibel trial
David
Green,  the Corporation's Head of Marketing, from Chicago, recognised
that
McDonalds could change peoples eating habits, and said that children
were 'virgin ground as far as marketing is concerned'. Their UK
Marketing
Services Manager Alistair Fairgreave stated: 'It is our [general]
objective
to dominate the communications arena...because we are competing for a
share
of the customer's mind.'

The Court of Appeal, in the appeal by the defendants in the McLibel
case,
concluded: If one eats enough McDonalds food, ones diet may well
become
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
the
original trial the judge had ruled that such a risk of heart disease
would
be  made the more likely for people who ate at McDonalds often and over
a
long period of time encouraged by [McDonalds] advertising. He further
ruled that McDonalds deceptively portray their food, in reality high in
fat
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
dietary
patterns) surely demonstrate a conscious and systematic breach of the
spirit and the letter of the ITC Guidelines. McDonalds view children as
their
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
all rules,
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
great
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
Food
Alliance [now known as Sustain] Working Party on Advertising. It should
be
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.

Yours faithfully


<your sig>


* E.g. Association of Community Health Councils, British Dietetic
Association, National Heart Forum, GMB Union, Institute of Trading
Standards
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
Research
Fund.

Note: All the references regarding McDonalds and the McLibel trial can
be
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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