Another McDonald’s controversy is brewing. But this time, it isn’t just about Happy Meals; it is about the McDonald's mascot Ronald McDonald.
More than 550 health care professionals have asked the company to retire Ronald.
Some of those who are asking McDonald’s this are internationally recognized Dr. Andrew Weil, the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Steven Rothschild, a professor at Rush Medical College, said, "Through this initiative, the public health community is rallying behind a simple message to McDonald's: stop making the next generation sick -- retire Ronald and the rest of your junk food marketing to kids."
On May 18, 2011, at McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting, Donald Zeigler, director of prevention and healthy lifestyles at the American Medical Association, read a letter signed by more than 550 health care professionals.
The letter asked McDonald’s to stop marketing and targeting children with their food, which tends to be high in calories and fat. They also asked McDonald’s to stop using toys in their Happy Meals and using Ronald McDonald as a mascot.
According to Advertising Age, "Happy Meals account for 10 percent of McDonald’s yearly revenue." Also, more than 40 percent (approximately $400 million) of McDonald’s annual advertising budget is spent directly marketing to kids.
Also, USA Today stated, "marketing to kids is a $17 billion dollar per year endeavor." According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average kid is bombarded with over 40,000 television commercials annually. And, more than 50 percent of those commercials are for fast food.
The group, Corporate Accountability International, which successfully campaigned to end the Joe Camel cigarette campaign, is behind the effort to end Ronald McDonald’s reign. The group also took out ads in newspapers across the country about the issue.
In a statement Corporate Accountability International said, "Our community is devoted to caring for sick children and preventing illness through public education.