McDonald’s Happy Meal website has been found guilty of serving up a side of junk food advertising to children after the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) deemed the fast food chain website in breach of several parts of the industry self-regulatory code.
The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) upheld a Cancer Council NSW complaint about the McDonald’s Happy Meal website which features the Happy Meal logo on all pages including the games pages, the toys pages and the activity pages.
Many of the McDonald’s characters also feature. Last year, following a ruling that the website was not advertising to children, Cancer Council NSW presented a petition with 510 signatures to the Board showing the community was concerned that the website was promoting Happy Meals to children.
Recently, the Board found that the website had breached numerous clauses of the voluntary code for advertising to children, including promoting unhealthy food choices by using characters and online interactive games aimed at children.
Kathy Chapman, director of health strategies at Cancer Council NSW said: “we know that junk food companies are increasingly looking to other, less regulated, avenues like websites and social media to promote unhealthy products to children. Cancer Council welcomes this announcement from the ASB, as it shows they are finally responding to the community voice.
“The most pressing question that needs to be addressed is why does McDonald’s have a website that promotes online games and licensed McDonald’s characters for children, if they continue to say they aren’t trying to promote Happy Meals to children?
“What we would really like to see is the introduction of tougher regulations for websites, so brands can’t use games and other gimmicks to advertise unhealthy foods to children, who will in turn pester their parents to purchase.” she said.
Source: Cancer Council NSW
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