Group Pushes Ronald McDonald to 'Happy Trails'

Thursday, 19 May 2011 03:30 PM

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A campaign to stop McDonald’s from marketing fast food to children includes a call for the company’s 48-year-old advertising icon, carrot-topped funster Ronald McDonald, to be retired, The Wall Street Journal reports. The nonprofit group Corporate Accountability International has newspaper ads running this week signed by hundreds of health professionals, and a companion website, retireronald.org, to pressure the chain to send out the clown and change its ways.

Ronald McDonald, McDonald's, retireThe group’s letter, printed in six U.S. dailies, acknowledges that no single cause or company is entirely to blame for what it calls a modern-day health epidemic. “But marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem,” the letter says.

The rhetoric at retireronald.org is more personal. Site visitors are encouraged to “find out why it’s time the huckstering was reserved for talent night at the retirement home.”

McDonald’s responded with a statement affirming a commitment to “responsible advertising” and to “being part of the dialogue and solution” in the debate over kids’ health and nutrition. The company also defended one of its mainstay menu items, the Happy Meal, as properly proportioned for kids.

“Parents tell us they appreciate our Happy Meal choices,” the statement declared.


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