McDonald’s Mystique Casts A Spell On Kids, Study Finds

Filed under: Study — @ August 7, 2007

Dr. Thomas Robinson says the cultural influence of McDonald’s unmatched

If anyone ever doubted the enormous impact of the marketing blitz undertaken by the world’s most famous fast food restaurant on the most vulnerable members of our society–CHILDREN–then I would simply refer you to a brand new study that should scare the living daylights out of anyone who cares about the subject of health. This is just plain frightening if you ask me.

Lead researcher Dr. Thomas N. Robinson, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and his fellow researchers wanted to examine the “effects of cumulative, real-world marketing and brand exposures” on toddlers to see what effect, if any, consumer branding would have on their food preferences.

A total of 63 children between the ages of 3 and 5 from low-income families from the from government assistance Head Start program in San Mateo County, CA were give five pairs of identical foods and beverages–hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, milk or juice, and carrots–that were packaged in wrappers stating they were from McDonald’s and another in plain packaging. Each of the study participants were asked to tell the researchers if the foods tasted the same or if they had a preference for one over the other.

The stunning results? The children almost universally preferred the food and said it tasted better when it was wrapped in McDonald’s packaging than the plain packaging. Remember, IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME FOOD!

We’ve seen what they think is “healthy” in recent marketing efforts and it’s a far cry from what it could be. While the new R Gym concept at McDonald’s to encourage exercise is a pretty good start, there seriously needs to be a better effort on their part to get the menu choices even healthier for those precious little ones who are the future.

It’s amazing how you just call something McBLANK and the kids go hog wild for it like it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted. That’s powerful and absolutely blows my mind. Years upon years of indoctrination through unrelenting marketing by McDonald’s has given them such a branding foothold on the competition. Nobody else in the restaurant industry even comes close.

Find out more about the results of this fascinating study and what it means to those of us who are advocates for healthy living by clicking here.


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