Carrots wrapped in McDonald’s packaging tasted better to the children surveyed than did carrots in a plain wrapper. (No such ads exist because McDonald’s doesn’t sell carrots).
– Los Angeles Times on new study
Think about that for a minute. Researchers package carrots and hamburgers in plain white wrappers and an identical item in McDonald’s wrappers. Children as young as 3 say the McDonald’s-wrapped food tastes better.
The more TVs in a child’s home, the more likely McDonald’s-wrapped food wins the taste test, according to a study from researchers at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. The same holds true for fries, chicken nuggets and milk.
Interestingly, my kids who have probably never seen a McDonald’s TV ad, don’t like the food. In fact, the only thing they like about McDonald’s are the toys.
The study reinforces the idea that kids, who ranged from 3 to 5 years old in this study, consider commercials as authoritative as CNN. (What that says about adults is another matter.) Psychologists say that even 8-year-olds have trouble recognizing an ad’s persuasive influence.
Well, that may explain why the fight against obesity is failing, reports The Associated Press via USA Today. Not a single state saw a drop in the obesity rate, while it climbed in 31.
From the article:
Health officials say the latest state rankings provide evidence that the nation has a public health crisis on its hands.
Unfortunately, we’re treating it like a mere inconvenience instead of the emergency that it is,” said Dr. James Marks, senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropy devoted to improving health care.
Which states are faring the worst?
- West Virginia
- Indiana, South Carolina (tie)
Colorado continues to be the fittest state.
Notice a trend here? The losers are poor Southern states.
While it may seem counterintuitive, junk food is less expensive than fruits and vegetables. And poor neighborhoods are less likely to have grocery stores stocking fruits and vegetables on their shelves. Fast food chains are often a primary source of food.
Which brings us back to the McDonald’s story. One suggestion to fight the obesity problem is to have fast-food chains advertise healthier fare.
“The only way you’re gonna get a big successful commercial campaign is from a big company. What if Ronald McDonald introduced kids to broccoli. . . . “Joanne Cantor, director of the Center for Communication Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells the Times.
Here’s my suggestion short of taking TV sets away from children’s homes: Create a national advertising campaign, complete with cool characters that kids will identify with. Then adorn apples, oranges, bananas and asparagus – preferably organic – with stickers that illustrate our new mascots. If executed well, suddenly broccoli will taste better.
Yeah, I know chances for success here are slim to none, but hey, a concerned dad can dream.