Rachel's Blog

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ads Friend or Foe?...continued

In our current world of media, advertisers use venues such as radio, internet, television, and newspapers to grab a consumers attention. In these small interludes of time we encounter these advertisements the advertisers want to influence our opinions, call us to action, and persuade us. However, the line needs to be drawn when these ads negatively influence children. An example of negative advertisement that grabs children’s eyes is Ronald McDonald. This red-haired, red-nosed, yellow suit wearing clown lured children into McDonalds restaurants with his happy go lucky nature, and child-like appeal. We know that McDonalds sells greasy and salty french fries, a monstrosity known as the "big mac," and plenty of other unhealthy products. America’s children feed off of the idea that because Ronald McDonald represents McDonalds than they want and need to do what he does which means eat at McDonalds.
McDonalds no longer uses Ronald to reel in children as predominantly as it did in the past. They now use the idea of community or everyone eats here, so why don’t you? There new theme, "I’m loving it," addresses the idea of togetherness, family, love. Most commercials use the appeal to emotions because they understand that a consumer will not be persuaded unless an ad appeals to their intelligence and/or emotions. When we consider the number of obese people in America, we see that these McDonalds ads work. People continually eat at McDonalds even after they hear that a chicken head was found in a pack of chicken nuggets or see the movie "Supersize Me."
After that movie came out, McDonalds refurbished their image. They brought healthier products such as salads and fruit cups to their menus. This movie also brought up the way McDonalds caught children’s attention with Ronald, their play stations, and their kids meal toys. I remember as a child, I used to think going to McDonalds was like finding the holy grail. McDonalds happy meals were a huge deal and I recall my family going there together which reinforces the family and community atmosphere McDonalds wants to promote. Although I have these fond memories of family outings to our neighborhood McDonalds, I also realize the addiction that stems from eating McDonalds and the realize the consequences that overexposure to this unhealthy food can cause including obesity, high cholesterol, heart problems, acne, and much more.


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