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McDonald's Wants Your Children and It's Getting Them

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A new study has shown pretty conclusively that marketing to kids works frighteningly well. Some of the scarier highlights include the fact that kids as young as 2 years old have beliefs about certain brands. Or the fact that when given identical items, one unpackaged, the other packaged in a McDonald's-brand container, they were up to six times as likely to say they preferred the McDonald's-branded item, and four out of five times overall they said they preferred the taste of foods packaged in the iconography of the golden arches. And, of course, the more TV kids watched and McDonald's food they ate, the more likely they would prefer it over others. There are a few lessons to be learned here:

1. Large corporations are evil, soulless horrors that spend the equivalent of a small country’s yearly GDP to get your children to do unhealthy things. 2. Educating your kids about the hazards of mass-media advertising is crucial. If you don’t, they will end up as obese automatons, mindlessly sucking down deadly toxins on orders preprogrammed in their toddlerhood. 3. Get rid of your TV, or at least keep it off most of the time, or it may happen anyway. Don’t you deserve a break today? 4. The upside? If you can get your hands on a bunch of McDonald's containers and wrappers, you can probably use them to get your kids to eat damn near anything.

The researchers conclude that this might strengthen the argument for restricting or even banning advertising aimed at children. Well, no shit. – Cory Casciato

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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