McBrainwashed?: Are your kids McDonald's brainwashed?
POWER OF MARKETING | To a kid, everything's better in a McDonald's wrapper
August 7, 2007
BY LINDSEY TANNER
Anything made by McDonald's tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how marketing can trick the taste buds of young children.
Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids when they were wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches.
The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.
A study had youngsters sample identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.
"You see a McDonald's label and kids start salivating," said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids.
Study author Dr. Tom Robinson said the kids' perception of taste was "physically altered by the branding."
The study involved 63 poor children ages 3 to 5. Robinson believes the results would be similar for children from wealthier families.
The study likely will stir more debate over the movement to restrict ads to kids. It comes less than a month after 11 major food and drink companies, including McDonald's, announced new curbs on marketing to children under 12.
McDonald's says the only Happy Meals it will promote to young children will contain fruit and have fewer calories and less fat.
"The fact is, parents make the decisions for their children and our research confirms that we've earned their trust as a responsible marketer based on decades of delivering the safest food," spokesman Walt Riker said.
Dr. Victor Strasburger, author of an American Academy of Pediatrics policy urging limits on marketing to children, said the study shows too little is being done.
"Advertisers have tried to do exactly what this study is talking about -- to brand younger and younger children, to instill in them an almost obsessional desire for a particular brand-name product," he said.
Just two of the 63 children studied said they'd never eaten at McDonald's, and about one-third ate there at least weekly.
Pradeep Chintagunta, a University of Chicago marketing professor, said a fairer comparison might have gauged kids' preferences for the McDonald's label vs. another familiar brand, such as Mickey Mouse.
"I don't think you can necessarily hold this against" McDonald's, he said, since the goal of marketing is to build familiarity.
jeudi, août 23, 2007
Reason #128,920 to limit advertising to kids.