Not all kids are lovin’ it when big stars hawk Big Macs.
Miami Heat’s LeBron James, rising football quarterback Johnny Manziel and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan are three star athletes who recently appeared in a commercial for McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD). The restaurant giant has long employed the allure of celebrity endorsements, and nutritionally thoughtful parents have long voiced their objections about the idea of McDonald’s marketing fast food to children.
Now, criticism of McDonald’s kid-friendly, star-packed commercials is coming from a new place: the kids themselves. In a video launched Monday by the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International (CAI), children are taking McDonald’s and other fast-food companies to task for marketing to them. The video, “Kids Not Lovin’ It,” features youngsters from around the country and stars Hannah Robertson, a 9-year-old girl who received national attention last year when she attended a McDonald’s shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois, and asked Don Thompson, the company’s chief executive, to stop trying to “trick kids.”
The video is part of the Moms Not Lovin’ It project, which is asking children to submit videos and photos of themselves holding signs explaining what they think a real role model should be. “To me a role model doesn’t profit at the expense of my own heath,” reads one girl’s sign.
The influence of celebrity endorsements on kid's eating habits isn’t hypothetical. A study released last year by the University of Liverpool found that celebrity endorsement of a food product encourages children to eat more of it -- and continues to do so even when kids see those celebrities in a context other than the commercial. In short, don’t be surprised if your youngster gets a hankering for Chicken McNuggets during the next Heat game.
Hanna Saltzman, a campaign organizer from CAI, said the group plans to attend this year’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting on May 22.
Watch the full video below.