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March 24, 2005
Contact: Dr. Susan Linn (617) 278-4282 susan<at>commercialfreechildhood.org

For Immediate Release

Children’s Coalition Raps McDonald’s Supersized Hypocrisy
Hip-Hop Songs to Feature Big Macs

Today, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) denounced a new marketing plan by McDonald’s to pay hip-hop artists to plug Big Macs in their lyrics. The fast food giant has hired Maven Strategies to entice rappers to write songs that specifically mention the Big Mac and hopes to have several tracks on the air by this summer.

“This campaign undermines McDonald’s claim that they are serious about combating childhood obesity,” said psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint, of the Judge Baker Children’s Center and Harvard Medical School, who noted hip-hop’s enormous popularity with preteens and teens. “Even as McDonald’s is drawing praise for pushing salads and apples, they are finding new ways to market high calorie standbys like the Big Mac to children.”

Obesity rates have soared among children in recent years and are highest among African Americans, who comprise a disproportionate share of the hip-hop audience. A report in last week’s New England Journal of Medicine found that due to obesity-related illnesses, the current generation of children may have shorter life expectancies then their parents.

The McDonald’s hip-hop ploy is part of a disturbing trend, said CCFC co-founder, Dr. Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. “Even as food companies pay lip service to the idea of responsible marketing, they increasingly turn to new and deceitful ways of targeting children. Listeners won’t know the rappers are being paid to push Big Macs -- these ‘adversongs’ are inherently deceptive.”

This is not the first time that Maven Strategies has been employed to peddle harmful products to hip-hop listeners. Last year, the company paid several rap artists to mention Seagram’s gin in their songs.

The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood (formerly Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children) is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC supports the rights of children to grow up – and the rights of parents to raise them – without being undermined by rampant consumerism. For more information, please visit: www.commercialfreechildhood.org

 

 
 
 

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