Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 04:27 PM
McDonald's certainly can't win with some critics. Its new promotion involves giving away millions of books that will advance both children's literacy and their understanding of healthy eating. But all some people see are a cynical way to sell more fast food.
Which, of course, is what McDonald's is in business to do. It'd be tough to make a mass business, employ all those workers and pay all those taxes with a trade that offered only, say, hand-made artisan sandwiches of artichokes and avocados with a chaser of kombucha.
In lieu of toys, McDonald's US plans to distribute more than 20 million paperback books inside its Happy Meals in the US during the first half of November, a gambit which could make it the country's "largest children's book publisher for the month," as Ad Age observed.
The move is "yet another effort to appease criticis who have lambasted its Happy Meals for the food quality, the licensed toys and kid-targeted marketing," noted USA Today. The brand launched a similar effort back in the UK back in January, where it received much the same criticism.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 10:52 AM
McDonald's biggest nod toward better-for-you food is already placating some critics, and there's another benefit: Helping kids and their parents eat healthier fare at its restaurants may boost chain sales results that have become tepid lately in the US market.
In cooperation with a Bill Clinton-backed nonprofit, McDonald's has announced a sweeping new commitment to better-for-you eating that includes promoting only water, milk and juice rather than soft drinks for Happy Meals on its menu boards and in advertising, emphasizing nutrition in its packaging and advertising for kids, and offering side salads and fruit to accompany its value meals.
"We think we can influence the purchase of fruits and veggies," McDonald's CEO Don Thompson told the Wall Street Journal. "We have a leadership role and we can be part of a solution. The average person eats at McDonald's three times a month."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 24, 2012 03:35 PM
Does your child's face light up when you mention the possibility of visiting a fast-food establishment for dinner? Well, apparently, their brain does, too.
According to new research of MRI scans of children’s appetite and pleasure centers in their brains, the logos of such fast-food giants as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Burger King causes those areas to “light up,” according to research by University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center as cited by London's The Independent.
Logos that aren’t food-related did not elicit the same response from the 10- to 14-year-olds involved in the study. Researchers fear that the marketers have “tapped into the 'reward' areas of the brain which develop before youngsters learn self-control,” the paper notes.
The research project will be published in the Oxford journal Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN), which notes in its abstract: "Branding and advertising have a powerful effect on both familiarity and preference for products, yet no neuroimaging studies have examined neural response to logos in children."
“Research has shown children are more likely to choose those foods with familiar logos,” commented study leader, psychologist Dr. Amanda Bruce, whose B.R.A.I.N. Lab (short for Behavioral Rewards And Incentives Network) conducted the Pediatric fMRI Logo Study. “That is concerning because the majority of foods marketed to children are unhealthy.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 11:09 AM
It's a dilemma as old as the first wild stalk of broccoli: How do you get a child to eat it? The latest twist on the ancient battle for kids' gullets is a new campaign by Birds Eye, the frozen-vegetable giant, with Nickelodeon and the Partnership for a Healthier America.
As part of an initiative that launched in May called "GenVeg" — for Generation Vegetable, of course — Bird's Eye is marketing directly to children through a cross-promotional partnership with the popular kids TV show iCarly. The centerpiece of the co-branded campaign is a contest, "iCarly Cooks with Birds Eye," in which kids visiting the Nick.com website will be encouraged to develop wacky new recipes for vegetables. The contest kicked off Monday with a video featuring Jennette McCurdy, one of the stars of the show.
"We're hoping that will add to the cachet with kids, and we're also filming a commercial with kids that will be airing on Nickelodeon," Alan Creveling, Bird's Eye brand manager, told brandchannel. "It's a very Nickelodeon way: putting kids in charge of things."Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 22, 2012 11:54 AM
Disney Pixar's latest film Brave opens today and promises to clean up at the box office. The film's official partner, Visit Scotland, is hoping audiences will want to "Experience the land that inspired Disney-Pixar’s Brave" (even as the Atlanta Braves have their legal issues with the movie).
Brave's opening means that Madagascar 3, the nation's top film for two weeks running, is about to be forgotten until DVD time. As Madagascar 3 pushes off, and with Brave's Scotland tie-in in mind, we have one nagging question before it goes: why the hit animated franchise failed to make the obvious marketing tie-in with New York's Central Park Zoo? Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2012 03:03 PM
NBCU's Universal Studios has announced that Skechers' Twinkle Toes character Grace Hastings will star in a full-length feature film, Twinkle Toes: The Movie, debuting exclusively on DVD on July 31st.
The face of the best-selling SKECHERS Kids footwear line, the popular Twinkle Toes character triumphs over “her most secret fears and learns to celebrate her individuality with energy, pizzazz and super-cute shoes!”
The animated Grace "Twinkle Toes" Hastings, is a fashion icon for the under-13 set, according to the press release: “Hip, flamboyant and original, Grace embodies a combination of sparkle, sass and style, which has made SKECHERS' Twinkle Toes footwear a favorite of celebrity kids and fashion divas alike.”
The SKECHERS Kids collection is the number one children's footwear brand in the US, according to the company, with more than 10 million pairs of Twinkle Toes sold.
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2012 02:09 PM
The U.S. government's campaign to help smokers quit (and keep kids from starting the nasty habit) has led to calls to quit lines more than doubling. The main mind behind the campaign, Dr. Howard Koh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, has been a force on the anti-smoking front for 20 years. He was involved in everything from the proposal to put highly graphic images on cigarette packaging and the movement to expand health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation.
While he’s been doing that, Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon has also been hard at work trying to end the world’s fascination with cigarettes. While she was Health Minister in Australia, she launched the idea that all cigarette packs in the country should be sold in plain brown paper, which of course sent the legal departments of tobacco companies into a tizzy. As Attorney General, she is requiring that graphic warnings cover the large majority of the packs.
For their efforts, Koh and Roxon are being recognized at event in Washington, D.C. held by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which works to counter tobacco brands' marketing and frowns on advertising such as characters and other kid-friendly touches, such as Camel's pinkalicious print campaign at right.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 02:11 PM
The obesity debate continues to dominate the public conversation in America. Policymakers and nutritionists and bureaucrats pondered "The Weight of the Nation" at a federal-government conference this week while the four-part HBO series of the same name that debuts on Monday. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are trying to position their brands as part of the solution, via the lobby group where they're the 800 pound gorilla members at any meeting.
The American Beverage Association's "Delivering Choices" campaign has already launched on TV to promote "how America's beverage companies are making it easier to choose the drink that's right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels." (The sub-text: consumers have choices, and should take personal responsbility for their weight and health.)
The campaign is now getting more targeted with local marketing in the Big Apple. A New York-centric website talks up the Delivering Choices platform while promoting good works by the ABA's members in the city, such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group funding playgrounds in Brooklyn, and the recent Great Recycle event staged by Coca-Cola's Honest Tea brand in Times Square. Facebook and Twitter marketing are reinforcing the messaging.
Now the ABA is expanding its NYC push to the subway system, with a new campaign placing posters on trains and in the stations — New York being the same market where the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been promoting a healthy agenda, including a PSA campaign depicting their beverages with globs of fat and packets of sugar.Continue reading...