Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 5, 2011

Santa Claus vs. Ronald McDonald

In Eric Schlosser’s book Fast-Food Nation: The Darkside of an All-American Meal, it talks about a study that found that 96% of American children could correctly identify Ronald McDonald.  The only fictional character with higher rates of identification was Santa Claus!

Slightly Creepy

Here are some shocking statistics from the Fast Food F.A.C.T.S. organization:

  • The average preschooler (2-5 years) saw 2.8 TV ads per day for fast food; children (6-11 years) saw 3.5; and teens (12-17 years) saw 4.7.
  • Young people’s exposure to fast food TV ads has increased. Compared to 2003, preschoolers viewed 21% more fast food ads in 2009, children viewed 34% more, and teens viewed 39% more.
  • Although McDonald’s and Burger King have pledged to improve food marketing to children, they increased their volume of TV advertising from 2007 to 2009. Preschoolers saw 21% more ads for McDonald’s and 9% more for Burger King, and children viewed 26% more ads for McDonald’s and 10% more for Burger King.
  • Eighty-four percent of parents reported taking their child to a fast food restaurant at least once a week; 66% reported going to McDonald’s in the past week.
  • Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.

This website also pointed out that fast food chains are starting to target children through company websites and other forms of digital media.  For example,,, and attract children with games and other activities.  For example: at, you can upload a picture of yourself into a picture with Ronald McDonald.  It is evident that fast-chains try to hook their consumers while they are young.  The F.A.C.T.S. organization states, “Above all, fast food restaurants must drastically change their current marketing practices so that children and teens do not receive continuous encouragement to seek out food that will severely damage their health.”  If 15% of pre-schoolers are asking their parents to go to McDonalds every day, then the marketing is working.  It is important to be aware of the effect marketing has on us and to monitor our fast-food consumption.



  1. McDonalds is like #8 most healthy fast food restaurants. haha

  2. Eye opening, I always thought Mcdonalds was healthy 🙂

  3. You’ve got to be kidding me

  4.,,20435301_10,00.html Here is an article that listed McDonald’s as the 8th healthiest. The article does state, however, “Danger zone: Although McDonald’s made our list, this is still the land of supersizing and giant sodas. It’s up to you to request a small.”

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