At about the same time last year, CAI, whose membership consists of activists, health professionals, and concerned parents, staged protests at nearly two dozen McDonald’s restaurants and colleges across the country, prompting the citizenry to sign Ronald McDonald retirement cards.
CAI believes Ronald McDonald and his employer are responsible for the health epidemic of obesity and diet-related disease plaguing America’s children.
In this latest assault on Ronald McDonald’s ignoble character, McDonald’s CEO, Jim Skinner defended the company’s right to advertise to children. “This is about choice and parents are responsible for deciding what to feed their kids.”
Skinner said he’s received support from customers and even non-customers who believe true liberty is having the right to choose. “Ronald McDonald is an ambassador to McDonald’s, and he is an ambassador for good,” Skinner said. “Ronald McDonald isn’t going anywhere.”
In a cunning illustration of damage control, McDonald’s announced it would start purchasing cage-free eggs. “Company president Don Thompson said that this year, McDonald’s will purchase 2 million cage-free eggs and 1 million eggs raised by enriched housing methods each month”.
James McNeal, a child marketing expert, and author of Kids As Customers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children, says that in the past 30 years, the percentage of obese children has tripled in children ages 2 to 5, and quadrupled in children ages 6 to 11.
McNeal says the rates of diet-related disease have risen commensurate with the growth of the entire fast food empire.
McDonald’s pioneered the science of marketing directly to children. In 1963, Ronald McDonald, originally played by actor Willard Scott, was created to instill brand loyalty in young children.
Ronald’s mission is part of a shrewdly orchestrated strategy to bypass what McDonald’s marketers called the “Gatekeepers”, the parents of their true target.
McDonald’s Corporation sends Ronald to schools as a “health ambassador” to build brand trust among parents by alleviating their concerns about McDonald’s products.
Not only is Ronald McDonald going to keep his position as “Chief Happiness Officer”, Ronald may be the only employee left working for the world’s number 1 hamburger chain.
McDonald’s plans on cutting back on millions in staff costs by replacing cashiers with touch-screen terminals and swipe cards at its 7,000 chain restaurants in Europe. And it’s only a matter of time before computers instead of humans will be asking U.S. customers if they prefer fries and a beverage with their order.