There's no question the noose is tightening around the neck of Ronald McDonald, the clownish icon of the global fast food chain.
First, a recent Ad Age cover story suggested Ronald is this generation's Joe Camel. Then, a USA Today cover story projected that 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, noting “…the country is already saturated with fast-food restaurants, cheap junk food and technologies that render people sedentary at home and work.” Ronald is responsible for the first two.
Since his 'birth' five decades ago, Ronald has done as much damage as all the hurricanes, tsunamis and pandemics combined. He just does it more slowly (like Joe Camel, his fellow merchant of death).
McDonald's, though, remains in complete denial. Neil Golden, chief marketing officer of the artery-clogging colossus, said, “Ronald represents the joy and fun of the McDonald's brand and brings happiness to people of all ages.” He also brings hypertension, stroke and diabetes.
Golden says Ronald “…delivers messages to families on many subjects such as safety, literacy, anti-bullying and the importance of physical activity.” The importance of physical activity? Ever try running a 10k race after inhaling a Happy Meal? That can't bring much happiness to any runner.
I support the nutrition and health activists who say Ronald McDonald is pushing a product just as dangerous as cigarettes.
The tobacco industry was forced to drop Joe Camel in 1998 as part of a Master Settlement Agreement with the government. Since it's clear the fast food barons who run Mickey D's won't voluntarily retire Ronald, I think it's time for the government to once again take action.
And, here's why: if Ronald, Tony the Tiger, the (Burger) King and other childhood icons are allowed to continue luring kids into a lifetime of obesity, our nation's healthcare costs will continue to soar. But, if we stop Ronald, Tony and the King NOW, USA Today says “…the country will save $549.5 billion in weight-related medical expenditures from now till 2030.” Talk about taking a bite out of the national debt. Wow!
If J. Edgar Hoover was still alive and Ronald McDonald were linked to as many deaths as he is, the former F.B.I. director would unquestionably name him public enemy number one. And, hopefully, Edgar would gun him down just as quickly and efficiently as he did with Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie & Clyde. Ronald deserves no mercy.
Well, look at it this way, Peter. While your kid may be ostracized for not gorging on Happy Meals, the odds are good he’ll outlive his morbidly obese, bullying peers by decades.
There’s your 2016 platform! I hope it changes things. I’d like to believe that in a few years time my kid won’t be ostracized because her wacky parents don’t let her eat at Mickey Dee’s.