One California woman is extremely fed up with McDonald’s business strategy. Monet Parham, a Sacramento mother of two, filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s on Wednesday, along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The nutrition and foods advocacy group is currently seeking approval from court to proceed with the case on a class action basis.

The woman claims that the fast-food restaurant uses toys to market directly to young children and infiltrate their minds as a ploy to get them to eat McDonald’s food and build an unhealthy habit of consuming fast food.

“We have to say no to our kids so many times and McDonald’s makes that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat”, the 41-year-old woman told CNN. For her and CSPI, marketing towards children is not okay.

CSPI executive director, Michael Jacobson, accused McDonald’s of  “one of the most insidious marketing practices–dangling a toy in front of a small child.” He believes that their practice is “unfair” and “deceptive” and that “the food industry has a responsibility not to intrude into families by using sleazy marketing techniques getting kids to pester their parents.”

Jacobson compared the fast food giant’s tactics to those of a tobacco company marketing to youth. “In this instance, McDonald’s is worse. They are going straight at little kids,” he said. “The company is using unfair techniques to persuade the kids to persuade the parents to go to McDonald’s. Tobacco companies don’t go after 3-year-olds. Neither does Coca-Cola or Pepsi.”

However, McDonald’s is not letting go of their Happy Meals campaign and legacy, which has been in place since the summer of 1970.

“We stand on our 30-year track record of providing a fun experience for kids and families at McDonald’s,” Bridget Coffing, a company spokesperson said to CNN. “We listen to our customers, and parents consistently tell us they approve of our Happy Meals. We are confident that parents understand and appreciate that Happy Meals are a fun treat, with quality, right-sized food choices for their children that can fit into a balanced diet.”

The CSPI has recently challenged Kellogg’s cereals for lading their foods with sugar in order to target children. In that case, the organization and the cereal company reached a settlement.

What do you think? Is it appropriate to market foods to young children? Or should the happy meal be banned?

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  • secretaddy

    wow ! everyone thinks this is silly. Do you know how effective marketing ads are? Do you know how many marketing ads are exposed to children. Do you know the DEALS and lobbying the food corporations do in order to ensure that their UNHEALTHY products are visible in ur children’s schools, churchs, tv, play areas, billboards, commercials.

    SERIOUSLY, you think that this country is overweight b/c of “poor parenting” NO! COrporations are extremely powerful and they spend BILLIONS and BILLIONS in advertising to your children, making them feel emotionally attached to their products so they can be consumers from cradle to death !

    FYI, McDonalds has hired many psychologists so they can find the most effective ways to advertise to them

    *rolling eyes* and the ppl advocating beating your children into submission mtchewwww. arghh srsly blk ppl frustrate me sometimes. and yes I am BLACK !

  • Victoria

    I can see where alot of you are getting at, but what this woman is saying is really not ridiculous. Watch this documentary, it’s called Consuming Kids http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u8HL3Bjygw

  • African Mami

    @secretaddy,

    As you allege, the corporations are making our kids ’emotionally attached’ through advertisements. BUT since these kids do not have the purchasing power to buy McDonald’s, who else is providing them with the means to eat there?

    This country’s problem with obesity stems from a myriad of issues not just the marketing done by big corporations whose main focus is their bottom line. As a parent you should be authoritative enough to say ‘NO’ without having to offer explanations.

    Lets stop looking for a scapegoat.

    • binks

      Exactly! And that is what it is a scapegoat! I’ am so sick and tried of people not taking personal responsibility and self control into the equation which is a major part. Can you blame ads/marketing and advertising sure but to a certain extent you have free will and a brain use it. Secondly, how do you account for the people that isn’t affect by the so called ad/marketing and advertising? If they are so effective as one makes it seems shouldn’t the majority (damn near all) people be affected…blank stares… YOU have the final say so of what you put into your and your kids mouth so let’s cut the bs

  • David

    Maybe I should Sue the Pepsi Company for my addiction to Dr. Pepper, its all I drink, and I can’t afford the Dentist bill, so if there are any Lawyers out there that want to back me on this contact me at [email protected]