DAILY DIARY – DEBUNK THE JUNK, APRIL 26, 2004
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“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one we have.” –
Emile Auguste Chartier, 1868-1951
Day 26: I just don’t buy into the notion that people are totally incapable of recognizing the siren song of advertising and are too often seduced into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Just so I’ve got it straight………the food cops and wannabe nannies don’t want McDonalds to promote their product lines through advertising to all ages in different media outlets, but it’s all right for anti-fast food groups to target all ages with their message in an effort to create a society of mindless, choiceless clones. At least at McDonalds a child can receive some real sustenance.
Advertising to children seems to be a sore spot for most people these days; on the one hand, we get upset over the targeting of children by cigarette and alcohol companies, yet don’t think twice about “politically correct” groups like PETA and Sierra Club targeting children directly both in and outside our neighborhood schools. At least with cigarettes and alcohol I can warn my child of the real dangers involved in smoking and/or drinking but I have no way to explain why some group feels they have the right to force their belief systems on the population as a whole to the detriment of everyone. Personally, I think it’s much more important to raise children who can actually think for themselves than a whole society of children who are “protected” from the real world.
Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware! According to dictionary.com it is “the axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a purchase before buying”. In addition Webster’s New World College Dictionary notes “(i.e. one buys at one’s own risk)”. Making intelligent decisions requires critical thinking skills, not rules and regulations that limit our freedom of choice. Sure with freedom of choice comes some pretty stupid choices but that’s what makes life so interesting. It’s sort of a chess game and the right decision can result in a satisfying life while the wrong decisions can result in complete disaster.
Someone e-mailed to ask: “Could you try and include some analysis of the McDonalds advertising that you encounter in and out of the restaurants? My own impression is that they do not encourage patrons to make healthy food choices. They present the most 'tantalizing' options and suggest buying additional desserts/appetizers and larger portions.”
To tell you the truth there is so much advertising out there that I have become rather selective in what I will pay attention to no matter what the medium. TV ads should have a good plot, sort of a mini-film for me to sit up and take notice and there are lots of good, entertaining ads out there. The new McDonalds promotion? Not one of my favorites, but it’s supposed to appeal to a younger crowd and I no longer qualify for that demographic. Surprisingly though with the new “look” of McDonalds, most of the in-store advertising now focuses on their new healthier offerings and a different approach to ordering so to tell you the truth I don’t necessarily see the stores pushing extra desserts but rather things like flat bread sandwiches and the new Apple Dippers. I find nothing untoward in that.There are plenty of countries where children are still used as slave labor, and I am far more outraged at this assault on childhood than the thought that some company is trying to woo a new consumer no matter what the age. Mom and dad you have the right to say no if you feel a young child is making a bad choice, it’s what you teach them on the road to adulthood that will mold the choices they make as they grow older. What was the line in that song? “Teach your children well……”, that requires personal responsibility on the part of every parent.