NEWS > BUSINESS > MCDONALD’S SUED OVER LOUSY HAPPY MEAL TOYS
MCDONALD’S SUED OVER LOUSY HAPPY MEAL TOYS
December 16 2010
Portland, OR – For decades McDonald’s has been delivering fast, cheap, and largely unhealthy meals to millions of people around the world. While recent trends towards promoting healthy eating habits have certainly put a dent in the awesome power of
the organization, the sheer volume and the decades of hard work that the company has put into supporting their brand has made the company largely immune from virtually all comers, whether it be rival companies or changing social values.
That success has been largely built on the back of the company’s long term plan to engage the youth. Generations of children have grown up with the cast of characters the company has employed and subsequently grown up on the food it delivers. That early integration has resulted in a great deal of loyalty for those children as they become adults, often resulting in them wanting to give their own children those same experiences, a cycle that repeats over and over again and results in a lot of money for the organization. One of the key tools in that recruitment of the youth has been, for more than three decades, the Happy Meal. A selection aimed specifically at the youth, the Happy Meal has become a standard for children throughout the world, though one group is apparently not so happy about those meals, particularly with the declining quality of toys offered.
“What kids see as a fun toy, I now realize is a sophisticated, high-tech marketing scheme that's designed to put McDonald's between me and my daughters. For the sake of other parents and their children, I want McDonald's to stop interfering with my family,” said Monet Parham, a Sacramento woman whose protests have grabbed national attention. “McDonald’s is engaged in highly sophisticated scheme to use the bait of toys to exploit children's developmental immaturity and subvert parental authority. McDonald's advertising of Happy Meals with toys is deceptive and unfair to children, unfair to parents, and in violation of California law.”
Parham is being supported by The Center for Science in the Public Interest in the lawsuit.
“We stand on our 30-year track record of providing a fun experience for kids and
families at McDonald's. Our organization has always strived to provide a happy and warming atmosphere for families. It has never been our goal or intent to interfere with the successful rearing of a child and in fact we believe that our restaurants provide a unique opportunity for parents and children to interact,” said the company in a statement. “Children are, as they always have been, of the utmost importance to our company. We are constantly striving to create diverse experiences for all of our youth customers and we strive to provide not only great dining experiences but also the highest quality toys possible. We feel that children across the country and across the world have had a better childhood because of their experiences at our restaurants.”
Recently the company has come under fire for toxic lead in children’s drinking glasses.
“Look, the corporate tie-ins have certainly improved in recent years but the reality is the
toys just suck. When I was a kid the toys were great, fun and playful. I took my kids to the McDonald’s just the other day and they got these crummy little plastic things. They broke before we even got out of the restaurant and that just sucks,” said Scrape TV Business analyst Ken Green. “That is just awful and doesn’t do much for the good of the company in the long term. Kids are going to associate the company with broken stuff and that doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m mad at them for giving my kids these pieces of junk. If a lawsuit prompts them to create better toys I say it’s the best thing for everyone involved.”
The company is currently offering a wide selection of toys throughout the country.
William Ashford, Business Correspondent