Springtime is yard sale season, but don’t put your Ronald McDonald promotional products up for sale just yet – they could soon become collector’s items, as the McDonald’s corporation is feeling the pressure from childhood obesity activist groups to retire its fast-food-loving mascot.
A group of pediatricians, physicians, parents, and other concerned citizens – many of whom helped put Joe Camel back in his stable in the 1990s – have asked McDonald’s to stop marketing its food to children by eliminating the 43-year-old Ronald from its campaigns, including television commercials, digital and print advertisements, and promotional products. The group, which calls itself Corporate Accountability International, argues in an open letter to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner that “contributors to today’s health epidemic are manifold and a broad societal response is required. But marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem.”
Ronald won’t go without a fight, though. In a statement released to the Wall Street Journal, the corporation announced its commitment to engaging in the ongoing dialogue regarding the fight against childhood obesity, and emphasized that its Happy Meals are designed with kids’ health in mind in terms of both choices and portion sizes.
Furthermore, Ronald is the spokesman for the Ronald McDonald House charity organization, which provides a home for families when they need to stay close to a hospital for treatment of children’s illnesses and medical conditions.
Ronald McDonald’s future is currently up in the air, but chances are, the clown won’t be around forever – and someone will surely be waiting on eBay to buy your figurines and other promotional products the moment he retires.
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