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Group Wants To Kill Off Ronald McDonald

From an amused Associated Press:

Ronald McDonald’s midlife crisis

By Christina Rexrode, AP Business Writer – Tue May 17, 2011

NEW YORK – Ronald McDonald is having a midlife crisis.

His floppy shoes, painted-on smile and flaming-red hair may be a harder sell to today’s kids who are trading in their dolls and trucks for manicures and mobile game apps at ever younger ages. He also seems out of step with McDonald’s Corp.’s new efforts to appeal to adults. The 48-year-old spokesclown has fallen flat in new ads this year, according to Ace Metrix, a group that tracks TV advertising.

Never mind that according to surveys, Ronald McDonald is the second most recognized figure on the planet, after Santa Claus. But, of course, these same people are gunning for Santa, too.

Meanwhile, where is a cashiered 48 year old "spokesclown" going to find employment in this economy? The Presidency is already occupied for at least another 18 months. Besides, McDonald’s is the only company that is hiring these days.

And the government is getting strict on marketing unhealthy food to children. That has both marginalized Ronald as more of a mascot than a product pitchman and landed him in the middle of the bigger debate about food makers’ responsibilities in stemming the rise in childhood obesity

How exactly is Mr. McDonald making anyone fat? Isn’t it more likely the food McDonald’s sells?

Critics say it’s time to hang up the yellow jumper. A group called Corporate Accountability International plans to ask Ronald to retire at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday. They say Ronald encourages kids to eat junk food, contributing to a rise in childhood obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.

The group, which campaigned against the Joe Camel cigarette mascot in the ’90s and complained about Ronald as a role model at McDonald’s annual meeting last year, has stepped up its campaign. The group has taken out full-page ads Wednesday in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Metro and four other papers to call for his head. The ads, signed by more than 550 health groups and professionals, carry the headline, "Doctors’ Orders: Stop Marketing Junk Food To Kids."

If we are going to start banning negative role models, what will movie stars, sports figures and rappers do for a living? (For the record, see more about ‘Corporate Accountability International’ below.)

What follows is an open letter to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, that says in part, "We ask that you heed our concern and retire your marketing promotions for food high in salt, fat, sugar, and calories to children, whatever form they take — from Ronald McDonald to toy giveaways."

McDonald’s defended Ronald against the group’s attack at last year’s annual meeting and is adamant that it has never considered retiring or even downplaying their smiling mascot.

"It’s totally unfounded," said Marlena Peleo-Lazar, the company’s chief creative officer, who describes Ronald as "a force for good."

Around 2004, McDonald’s christened Ronald as a "balanced, active lifestyles ambassador," and stuck him in commercials where he trained for the Olympics. He got workout clothes. He got a tuxedo. He moved from McDonaldLand into the real world. New commercials show him as an active, athletic clown who plays soccer, shoots hoops and encourages kids to visit McDonald’s Happymeal.com website. There’s barely a mention of burgers and fries

In many ways Ronald sounds a lot like Mr. Obama. Well, except for the part about him moving into the real world.

Through the years, Ronald has also been the face of Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides free or inexpensive housing for families who must travel to get medical treatment for a child. He still shows up as often as ever at camps for sick children and charity events.

Nick Guroff, a spokesman for Corporate Accountability International, said while that’s a worthwhile charity, "to use that as their excuse for marketing junk food to kids is sort of having their burger and eating it too."

And to hell with all the sick kids.

Here is some background on this 501c3 tax exempt ‘charity,’ via their (heavily sourced) entry on Wikipedia:

Corporate Accountability International

Corporate Accountability International (formerly INFACT) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1977…

From 1984 to 1993 the Nuclear Weaponmakers Campaign and General Electric (GE) Boycott helped push industry leader GE out of the nuclear weapons business and exposed the human and environmental costs of the corporation’s nuclear weapons production and promotion. The international boycott of GE products cost the company over $19 million in lost medical equipment sales and $100 million in overall sales. Major retail stores including Safeway and Target began stocking light bulbs made by other companies. In 1991, Corporate Accountability International commissioned the Academy Award winning documentary, "Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons, and Our Environment" that juxtaposed "GE’s rosy ‘We Bring Good Things To Life’ commercials with the true stories of workers and neighbors whose lives have been devastated by the company’s involvement in building and testing nuclear bombs." In 1993, GE caved under enormous public pressure and moved out of the nuclear weapons business

After all, we can’t have American companies helping our government protect our national security.

In 1994 Corporate Accountability International launched the Challenging Big Tobacco Campaign. In 2003, years of campaigning culminated in the adoption of the world’s first public health and corporate accountability treaty — the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. They spent the fall of 2005 working alongside other organizations to get a number of African countries to ratify the treaty and also gained notice for their attempts to get the US to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

In 2009 Corporate Accountability International launched the Value [The] Meal Campaign challenging corporate abuse of food by the fast food industry. The campaign demands to the fast food industry include: stop fast food marketing, promotion and sponsorship that appeals to children and teenagers; stop manipulating public health policy and nutrition science; and provide complete, accurate and non-promotional information about the health risks of fast food. On a similar tack, in April 2010 the nonprofit began calling for the ‘retirement’ of Ronald McDonald, saying the venerable mascot fuels childhood obesity…

What busy little bees they are. And just look at all the things they have done — for the children.

By the way, here is a little more info on some of the people who run Corporate Accountability International:

Deborah Lapidus, Acting Campaign Director, Value [the] Meal — Lapidus currently works with health professionals, elected officials, and grassroots leaders to reduce the marketing of junk food to kids. Before joining Corporate Accountability International in 2007 as a National Organizer for the Think Outside The Bottle Campaign, Lapidus led a volunteer office for MoveOn.org’s Call for Change Campaign where she helped elect Democrats to Congress

Nick Guroff, Communications Director — Guroff has directed Corporate Accountability International’s media outreach, online communications, and publications work since 2007. He began his work in advocacy as a field organizer for Green Corps, field manager with MoveOn PAC

Karla Pippa, Field Director — Pippa began with the organization in 2009 as its field director… Pippa was also a lead organizer with Grassroots Campaigns International where she launched volunteer networks and fundraising initiatives for MoveOn.org

What a small world and incestuous world it is, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

18 Responses to “Group Wants To Kill Off Ronald McDonald”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    MICROMANAGING HUMAN ACTIVITY MARCHES ON!

    Socialist agenda: If it doesn’t satisfy the local (read: liberal) need, it must be destroyed.

    ★ People are not autonomous. Decisions must be made for them, by force if necessary, by central planners.

    ★ People don’t have choices. People are coerced into poor decisions by toys, deceptive marketing (and delicious food) and are therefore VICTIMS in need of government protection.

    ★ All 100% legal, no crime has been committed, however, McDonalds is still convicted as guilty. NO WONDER businesses flee overseas….away from the insanity!

    ★ Someday, the central planners will make us all free….just like they did to DETROIT.

    • proreason says:

      There’s a new explanation out for Ruling Class behavior.

      Agriculture is no longer the dominant human activity, but culture and genetics haven’t caught up with it. The Ruling Class is still tending the farm, tilling the soil, herding the animal.

      They now see people as their livestock. We must be herded into our enclosures, fed the food that makes us grow best, provided the activities that keep us satisfied. The best stock, of course, is reserved for the farmers.

    • GetBackJack says:

      The FDA testifying both in a court case in Illinois regarding a person’s right to consume raw milk, and again the FDA testifying under Oath before the Senate regarding S.10 — these are verbatim quotes —

      “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”

      “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.”

      “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing becauseplaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

      FDA’s brief goes on to state that “even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA’s regulations unconstitutional becauseprohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health.”

      “There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.”

      You have no natural right to food

      The FTCLDF highlighted a few of the key phrases from the FDA’s response document in a recent email to its supporters. They include the following two statements from the FDA:

      “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.” [p. 26]

      “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.” [p.26]

      So, fellow S&L’s you think it’s bad out there?

      Not one voice in the Senate objected to any of the above statements.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Man on the street: “My kid is fat.”

    Reporter: “And why is that?”

    Man: “I blame the food.”

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Corporate Accountability International

    Who they are: http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/

    What they do: http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/alternet-watch-out-world-bank-quietly-funding-massive-corporate-water-grab
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Accountability_International

    They are socialists. They have invented a “water crisis”, no, make that a “worldwide water crisis” and are going after bottled water companies under the supposition that “taxes on a bottle of water are wasted”. Much of their self-promotion is emotionally driven and aimed at corporations, with the central meme being that “privitization is evil”, essentially. But they contradict themselves in their own writing. For example:

    The Philippines is an excellent example of water privatization’s broken model. After passing the Water Crisis Act in 1995, the Philippines landed a $283 million privatization plan managed partially by multinational giants like Suez and Bechtel. After some success, everything fell apart after 2000, and it wasn’t long before tariff prices repeatedly increased, water service and quality worsened, and public opposition skyrocketed.

    Tariff prices and quality control were government controlled items. Privatization wasn’t the problem; It was government regulation and the typical method in the Phillipines of having to pay the government off to get anything done. But the way this expose’ is written, that part is conveniently left out.

    I suspect, strongly, that George Soros spends a lot of money on CAI.

    • TerryAnne says:

      The irony being that CAI pushes for government involvement in water, food, air, etc., but then uses this model…which proves that when the government sticks its nose into anything – regardless of country – it messes everything up.

  4. TerryAnne says:

    Remember in the 80s, when Suzanne Sommers used to do the commercials with the starving kids in Africa? About how sad it was that they were starving?

    Why is it that I feel now they want starving kids in commericals, all panting (since they can’t breathe well due to being malnourished) the taglines, “See! You, too, could be famous and stuff, if all you do is not eat!” or “Everyone wants to be my friend since my bones stick out. No one will like you if you give into genetics and natural biological responses, like eating.”

  5. Rusty Shackleford says:

    And then there’s this:

    (Slender) Wisconsin Man Eats 25,000th BigMac

    Washington Post (has nothing better to do)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wisconsin-man-eats-25000th-big-mac-on-39th-anniversary-of-eating-his-first–nine/2011/05/17/AFZ1W65G_story.html

    FOND DU LAC, Wis. — A retired prison guard ate his 25,000th Big Mac on Tuesday, 39 years to the day after eating his first … nine.

    Don Gorske was honored after reaching the meaty milestone during a ceremony at a McDonald’s in his hometown of Fond du Lac. Surely McDonald’s most loyal customer, Guinness World Records recognized Gorske’s feat three years and 2,000 Big Macs ago, and the 57-year-old says he has no desire to stop.

    “I plan on eating Big Macs until I die,” he said. “I have no intentions of changing. It’s still my favorite food. Nothing has changed in 39 years. I look forward to it every day.”

    The sign beneath the golden arches Tuesday read “Congrats Don Gorske 25000 Big Macs.”

    Before he ate No. 25,000, he showed dozens of onlookers many of the different styles of cartons he has collected over the years and other Big Mac-related stories.

    Before biting into the sandwich, he said, “It’s been seven years since 20,000. Same thing goes this year folks. You can’t have the carton and it probably still takes 16 bites for me to finish a Big Mac.”

    The crowd erupted into applause.

    Racists

    Gorske, who appeared in the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” which examined the fast food industry, looks nothing like one might expect of a fast food junkie. He’s trim and walks regularly for exercise, and he attributes his build to being “hyperactive.” He said he was recently given a clean bill of health and that his cholesterol is low.

    Again…..Racists

    Gorske’s obsession with the burger — two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun, for those not familiar with the once-ubiquitous ads — started May 17, 1972, when he bought three Big Macs to celebrate the purchase of a new car. He was hooked, and went back to McDonald’s twice more that day, eating nine before they closed.

    He’s only gone eight days since without a Big Mac, and most days he eats two. Among the reasons he skipped a day was to grant his mother a dying wish. His last Big Mac-less day was Thanksgiving 2000, when he forgot to stock up and the store was closed for the holiday.

    The article goes on to say that he’s an obsessive/compulsive and other negative things. But no matter what the AP writer says, it doesn’t dampen Mr Gorske’s enthusiasm for the Big Mac. Damn him! Damn him all to hell!

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    There will be hell to pay for this!
    This flies right in the face of all that is unholy about Free Enterprise and toys in Kids’ Meals.

  7. Right of the People says:

    Maybe if they make him a minority it will save him. If Ronald was of the African-American or Hispanic (Ronaldo McDonaldo) persuasion, CAI would be afraid to touch him so they wouldn’t be called racist.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I be Ronnie Mac D, gnomesayn? Or, mayeb jus’ Ronnie Big. Or maybe, BigRon MD. Which can become “Dr Ron”.

      Yeah….dat be fly, we be all up in it yo.

    • untrainable says:

      If Ronnie was muslim they’d never touch him.
      But they’d have to trade the sausage mcmuffin for the goat’s ass McFalafel.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      HaaaaaaaaHaHaHaHaaaaaaaaaa!!
      Yo! Heavy BBQ sauce on dat ass!

  8. GetBackJack says:

    To hell with Ronald, what scares the hell out of me is Meat Grown On A Stick, and you can bet your bottom dollar McDonalds will be first in line to sell Frankenstein Burgers.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/05/18/136402034/burgers-from-a-lab-the-world-of-in-vitro-meat

  9. DoctorRock says:

    Never ascribe to megalomania what can simply be ascribed to extortion.” Like they care about fat kids – cut me a break.

  10. bobdog says:

    The White House is reportedly in the final planning stages of a mission to chopper in some SEALs and have a nice respectful burial at sea, just before the next election. They’ll have to weight him down, though. I think Ronald’s going to be a floater.


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