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  #1  
Old 07-10-2010, 01:13 AM
preciousjeni preciousjeni is offline
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Happy Meals here to stay: McDonald's

Quote:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest last month threatened a lawsuit against the fast-food giant to get it to dump the toys that accompany Happy Meals.

Forget it, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner said, defending Happy Meals in the written response sent to the Washington, D.C.-based group.

"Internet sites, blogs and network surveys suggest that public opinion is running overwhelmingly against your premise," Skinner wrote. "Our customer websites and phone lines at McDonald's are also busy, with more than nine out of 10 customers disagreeing with your agenda."

The strong public response is uncommon for the company, whose dominance in the fast-food industry makes its a target of a range of activist groups.

"CSPI is wrong in its assertions, and frivolous in its legal threats," Skinner said, calling the group's claims "over-the-top rhetoric."

Seeking to turn the tables on the group, Skinner called for an apology.

Link: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2...appy08.article
What are the toys if not marketing ploys for a large population of people who like toys (i.e. kids)? There's no question there. However, should the company stop marketing Happy Meals to the kids who eat them? No. Should parents stop buying their kids Happy Meals. Sure. I call foul on both sides.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2010, 01:09 PM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
So ... if McDonald's stops making toys then ... kids will stop eating hamburgers and fries? Somehow, I doubt that.
I do think that the toys are the lure. If kids see ads during their cartoons/lame Disney shows (sorry, I am not a bug Disney fan) for "CURRENT HOT MOVIE CHARACTER TOY with your Happy Meal,", they may ask mom to go to McD's. But outside of that, what is the level of the appeal? Would the kids find the food itself so appealing that they would still beg to go to McD's? (Take out the factor of playing in the playground.) That's a rhetorical question, of course.

I'd like to see some statistics if they stopped using toys and/or the "happy meal" and just called it a "kid's size" without all the marketing. Try it out in a few tests markets to see if the Happy Meal and toy is actually bringing kids (their parents) in.

Granted, as a kid, I hated my mom's home-made burgers that plumped up on the broiler, loaded onto a bulkie roll with her meaty home-made fries cut from potatoes. They never stacked up to Wendy's (we never ate at McD's as kids; my mom was a fast-food snob), so I understand the preference and novelty. Then again, when I grew up, we had fast food maybe once every other month, because my mom cooked everything from scratch. We didn't even get a local Burger King until I was in high school (they put it in about 5 miles from the school in the next town during my junior year), thinking it was so cool. Yeah, lame suburban kids in a town that didn't allow chains of any kind flocked to BK as a treat.

It's all very interesting.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:19 PM
knight_shadow knight_shadow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ree-Xi View Post
I do think that the toys are the lure. If kids see ads during their cartoons/lame Disney shows (sorry, I am not a bug Disney fan) for "CURRENT HOT MOVIE CHARACTER TOY with your Happy Meal,", they may ask mom to go to McD's. But outside of that, what is the level of the appeal? Would the kids find the food itself so appealing that they would still beg to go to McD's? (Take out the factor of playing in the playground.) That's a rhetorical question, of course.

I'd like to see some statistics if they stopped using toys and/or the "happy meal" and just called it a "kid's size" without all the marketing. Try it out in a few tests markets to see if the Happy Meal and toy is actually bringing kids (their parents) in.

Granted, as a kid, I hated my mom's home-made burgers that plumped up on the broiler, loaded onto a bulkie roll with her meaty home-made fries cut from potatoes. They never stacked up to Wendy's (we never ate at McD's as kids; my mom was a fast-food snob), so I understand the preference and novelty. Then again, when I grew up, we had fast food maybe once every other month, because my mom cooked everything from scratch. We didn't even get a local Burger King until I was in high school (they put it in about 5 miles from the school in the next town during my junior year), thinking it was so cool. Yeah, lame suburban kids in a town that didn't allow chains of any kind flocked to BK as a treat.

It's all very interesting.
Sure the toys are the lure, but it's no different than any other type of marketing that's out there. The solution is in bold - parents need to set some boundaries with their children. If you give in every time your child wants something, of course they're going to beg for the "hot new thing" that's out.

I've always been fascinated by advertising and marketing, so even when I was younger, I kept up with ads. I may have WANTED a new Super Soaker or Jordans, but my parents made it clear that these things were luxuries.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:53 PM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Originally Posted by knight_shadow View Post
Sure the toys are the lure, but it's no different than any other type of marketing that's out there. The solution is in bold - parents need to set some boundaries with their children. If you give in every time your child wants something, of course they're going to beg for the "hot new thing" that's out.

I've always been fascinated by advertising and marketing, so even when I was younger, I kept up with ads. I may have WANTED a new Super Soaker or Jordans, but my parents made it clear that these things were luxuries.
Yes, a thousand times, yes! What is there to wait for these days?? This indulgent society teaches kids instant gratification. A few weeks ago, I was playing Scrabble on my iPhone (the only "gadget" I own). My 10-year old nephew asked me if I had to pay for it, and I said it was like five bucks.

He then said "I wish I could get a game on my phone. My mom won't let me". (He only has it because the 3 kids are on the bus and my sister's schedule sometimes changes and she has to be able to let them know whether to take the bus or wait to be picked up. He only can dial out 5 numbers - mom/dad/grammie/auntie (me)/911. Games will eat up minutes on this particular phone).

To which my sister said, "when you're 30-something paying your own way, you can get all the games you want" (this is the chicken nugget kid, so I was psyched to hear my sister say that!!)
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:29 PM
AnchorAlum AnchorAlum is offline
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Ha ha! Great story. I am thinking that my two grown children will say the same thing, although they got lots of treats when they were kids. Happy Meals included.

I get a HM about twice a year when I'm out and about on my job and there's no where else to eat. I get it because the portions are smaller and because I think of McD's as the absolute last resort of a place to eat. (I once got one with a Hello Kitty toy and gave it to my grown daughter, who still has a thing for HK)
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:34 AM
lake lake is offline
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I always order Happy Meals from McDonald's too for the same reasons (small portion size) and then I give the toys to my sister, who is a first grade teacher. She puts them in a special toy chest in her classroom and gives them out as prizes for good behavior, good performance on school work, etc. The kids love it!
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:57 AM
summer_gphib summer_gphib is offline
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I think they already have healthier Happy meal choices as well. I think you can now get apples instead of fries and milk or apple juice instead of soda. And they no longer give out those little cookies, so the center for science and blah blah blah just needs to stfu.

If the government wasn't always in people's business then parents might actually be able to grow a brain and parent their children correctly. Then we wouldn't have a generation of little chubbers. We'd have smart children who know how to make smart choices. OH! And we might also be able to teach things like health and manners in schools again, instead of expecting third graders to learn physics.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:16 AM
RaggedyAnn RaggedyAnn is offline
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People actually have been able to get milk or apple juice for years, at least you could back in the late 80s/early 90s when I worked there. It cost less on the menu, so there wasn't even a charge for the substitution. Parents just didn't usually ask for it. They could also order anything they wanted on the menu and just buy the toy separately too.

I just don't understand this it's McDonald's fault. My parents never ordered me a Happy Meal. When we went there, it was a huge treat, because it was so rare (maybe once a year?). My siblings and I split a 20 piece McNugget and large fry.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:43 PM
RU OX Alum RU OX Alum is offline
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I always thought the toy coming with the thing was a favor to the parents on car trips; something to distract the children.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:45 AM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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I hope this is thrown out of court as a frivilous lawsuit. If parents don't want their kids to eat at McDonald's, don't take them there! If the kids insist, let them waddle on over themselves! They'll get the exercise, the toy, the food they think they want, and the parents can feel all self-righteous.

When did parents become so darn afraid of their kids?
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