The NRA (nope, not the National Rifle Association, but the National Restaurant Association) Smart Brief recently alerted us to a story in the thrillingly-named trade paper Broadcasting & Cable. It seems that Chuck E. Cheese’s, the site of an overwhelming majority of the birthday parties we attended in elementary school, has volunteered to limit the marketing of their food. Two immediate thoughts:
1) The NRA headline “Chuck E. Cheese Agrees to Limit Marketing To Children” makes it sound as though either Chuck E. Cheese’s has agreed not to market to adults or Chuck E. Cheese’s will be marketing less to children, which would be weird and creepy because what kind of adult goes to Chuck E. Cheese’s without a child in tow?
2) Are we missing something? Does Chuck E. Cheese’s really market their food? We haven’t been there in ages, but all we remember seeing advertised are the games and rides.
Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey is behind the push to persuade fast food restaurants to lower their marketing to children. While we admire any effort to curb childhood obesity, we can’t help but think that perhaps it would be better to encourage Chuck E. Cheese’s and other fast food chains to make their menu items healthier. After all, no kid sees an ad and says “Mom! Can we go to Chuck E. Cheese’s? I’m dying to try their pizza!” No, kids want to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s to play in that giant tub of plastic balls and win some prizes. Once they’re there, they’ll basically eat anything put in front of them. No one is suggesting that the chain replace pizza with tofu stir-fry, but wouldn’t it be great if the pizzas could have less than 155 calories per slice?
National Restaurant Association [Official Site]
Chuck E. Cheese Agrees to Self-Regulate Kids’ Marketing [Broadcasting & Cable]
Chuck E. Cheese’s [Official Site]
Congressman Edward Markey [Official Site]