McDonald’s Marketing To Kids

Ripple teamed up with Corporate Accountability International to publicize a shareholder resolution targeting McDonald’s predatory marketing practices to kids. The hero of this story was a 9-year-old girl, Hannah Robertson, who flew from Canada to the company’s annual meeting in Chicago with her mom to give McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson a piece of her mind: “I don’t think it’s fair when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn’t good for them,” she said. “It isn’t fair that so many kids my age are getting sick. Mr. Thompson, don’t you want kids to be healthy so that they can live long and healthy lives?”

The U.S. and international media loved this adorable girl’s chutzpah and our story was featured in major outlets all over the world including: Good Morning America, Morning Joe, CBS, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall St. Journal, Japan Times, MSN Money, NPR, Babble, Grist, Advertising Age and more.

McDonald’s strategies to lure in kids share many tactics from Big Tobacco’s playbook, especially in terms of targeting youth. Despite the Academy of Pediatrics and other experts noting that marketing to children under 8 is “inherently deceptive” and “wholly exploitative,” McDonald’s continues to advertise to kids at a critical stage in their development when they are most susceptible to advertising.

The White House, four federal agencies (the FTC, FDA, CDC and USDA) recommend curbing junk food marketing kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics goes even further recommending Congress ban junk food advertising during children’s programming. Nevertheless, McDonald’s continues to lure in young customers, while convincing their parents that their food is healthy.

Featured Media Coverage

Fox clip featuring Hannah Robertson and CAI

CNN International clip featuring Corporate Accountability International