The Chain Gang

Hey, Kids! Ronald McDonald Returns, But Happy Meals May Be Banned

Ronald McDonald recently took some time off to smoke crack with Shakes the Clown while McDonald’s got all sophisticated on us, but the chain is bringing back the creeptastic clown for a campaign in which kids can digitally pose with him (see the ad for the campaign below). Cute, right? Except legislators are trying to turn that goofy red smile upside down. According to the Chicago Tribune, Councilman Leroy Comrie of Queens is the latest to introduce the type of legislation that San Francisco approved last fall. Hey, why not? New York is the city where French fries were just banned at Health Department office meetings. Comrie’s bill would “make it illegal to distribute toys, games, trading cards or admission tickets along with any meal for children unless they have less than 500 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium and 35 percent of calories from fat, excluding nuts, seeds and nut butters.” Meanwhile, politicians in Arizona and Florida have proposed laws that would prevent such bans (the Arizona law just passed the House there). Aw. They love to see you smile. But what about Ronald McDonald snuff films?

Update: A McDonald’s rep sends the following statement.

Taking away toys from kids’ meals won’t solve childhood obesity.

Nutrition experts and parents agree. In a national survey of U.S. moms, 83% say that banning toys from kids’ meals is NOT an effective way to deal with this important issue.*

On average, kids eat at McDonald’s about three times a month; that means about 87 other meals are eaten at home, school or elsewhere. That adds up to a discussion larger than toys.

McDonald’s is making real change, as we continue to listen to our customers. Our Happy Meals make it easier for families to choose the right foods in portions just for kids. We provide options for our customers and trust them to make the decisions that are right for their families. Politicians should too.

We offer nutritionally-balanced Happy Meal options and serve up high-quality food choices like Chicken McNuggets made with white meat, low-fat milk, and Apple Dippers. Our burgers are 100% USDA pure beef, and our famous fries are made from real potatoes grown with pride on U.S. farms. As a bonus, kids get a safe, fun toy to enjoy.

McDonald’s is in touch with our customers, and that’s why we’re continually evolving our Happy Meals. Stay tuned.

We’re listening- and families are telling us that our food and our toys are part of the fun McDonald’s experience.

Mason Smoot
VP and General Manager, McDonald’s New York Metro Region

Ronald McDonald is reaching out to kids online [USAT]
New York May Consider Banning Happy Meals [Chicago Tribune]

Hey, Kids! Ronald McDonald Returns, But Happy Meals May Be Banned