Thirty-three years after its inception, the McDonald’s “Happy Meal” will no longer come complete with a toy. Well, not in San Francisco anyway. This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted (8-3) to ban the inclusion of toys in children’s meals that do not meet certain nutritional standards. Apparently the so-called Happy Meal either exceeds 600 calories, 640 milligrams of sodium, does not contain fruits and vegetables, or includes beverages with excessive fat or sugar.
The new law is obviously an effort to combat the recent childhood obesity epidemic by making unhealthy foods less appealing for the impressionable youth. McDonald’s is obviously unhappy about the decision – but what about the movie companies whose Happy Meal promotional toys can be worth millions in licensing deals and advertising?
NPR aired an interview yesterday with Edward Jay Epstein, author of “The Hollywood Economist.” Toy tie-ins, he explained, can even determine whether a not a studio actually makes a film. “They certainly can’t put up the money themselves, they’re already strained in their advertising budget. So they might decide not to do the movie.”
Looks like more than just kids will be losing a little happiness come December 1st.
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