McDonald’s targeted in US health ad
Unhappy meals: American doctors’ TV ad features a corpse holding a hamburger and the line ‘I was lovin’ it’. McDonald’s, which has thrived in the recession, isn’t laughing.
McDonald’s fast food is graphically linked to health problems in this ad from a doctors’ group urging viewers: ‘Tonight, make it vegetarian’
It is an image to sap the flabbiest of appetites. An overweight, middle-aged man lies dead on a mortuary trolley, with a woman weeping over his body. The corpse’s cold hand still clutches a half-eaten McDonald’s hamburger.
A hard-hitting US television commercial bankrolled by a Washington-based medical group has infuriated McDonald’s by taking an unusually direct shot at the world’s biggest fast-food chain this week, using a scene filmed in a mortuary followed by a shot of the brand’s golden arches logo and a strapline declaring: “I was lovin’ it.”
The line is a provocative twist on McDonald’s long-standing advertising slogan, “I’m lovin’ it” and a voiceover intones: “High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.”
The commercial, bankrolled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), goes further than most non-profit advertising and has drawn an angry reaction from both the Chicago-based hamburger multinational and the broader restaurant industry.
The National Restaurant Association criticised it as “irresponsible” and said it was an attempt to scare the public with a “limited” view of nutrition. A McDonald’s spokesman said: “This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.”
The commercial, to be aired initially in the Washington area but potentially in further US cities, comes amid an increasingly lively debate in the US about healthy eating. The first lady, Michelle Obama, has made nutrition a signature issue and is leading a campaign to encourage physical fitness and improved diets – particularly among American children, a third of whom are overweight.
The recession has hardly helped the healthy eating cause. McDonald’s has enjoyed a relatively prosperous financial crisis as diners opt for its affordable offerings in place of more expensive high-street restaurants. Its global profits for the six months to June were up 12% to $2.3bn, powered by sales rises both in the United States and Britain.
The PCRM’s director of nutrition education, Susan Levin, made no apologies for singling out the golden arches: “McDonald’s is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. Its name and its golden arches are instantly recognisable. We feel we’re making a point about all fast food when we talk about McDonald’s.”
Article excerpted from http://www.guardian.co.uk