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Sesame Street under attack for airing McDonald's commercials

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Phillip, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Sesame Street is under a lot of heat from a variety of professionals that want the McDonald's commercials removed from the show, saying that the advertising will lead kids to wanting McDonald's "junk food". Read all the details and let us know what you think.

  2. Amazing Mumford

    Amazing Mumford New Member

    This attack is ridiculous. Nader and the others should really find more urgent situations to protest than this. So, McDonald's gives some money to support a good cause and gets a smidgen of recognition for it--I don't see any problem with that. If McDonald's was simply interested in profits and getting kids to eat fast food, there's dozens of other shows they can advertise on that allow them to actually display products and promotions.

    Also, McDonald's and Sesame Street apparently have complied with the federal public broadcasting guidelines. These guidelines have been carefully constructed, so I see no need for this group to question them.

    At some point, people (or their parents in this case) are going to have to accept responsibility for their eating habits instead of blaming fast food companies. Fast food isn't necessarily healthy, but to blame it for obesity and diabetes (or even suggest that) is too far-fetched.
  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I was going to post an oped on the fact that PBS is a commercial network because of sponsers like these, but the &(*^%$^% school computers have flipping &^%$ed off the network... :boo:
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    This is what happens when Corporate America finally tries to be nice!
  5. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Well, I think it is good that they followed the FTC guidelines. That said, I think it's a questionable decision for Sesame Workshop to align itself with a junk food company. I'd say the same if the show was sponsored by Snickers, Hostess Potato Chips or something else along those lines. Even if the sponsorship is innocent, the "optics" on that kind of decision look all wrong from the outside.

    I think Nader's got a point....but the real story here should be that American public television is so under-funded that a show like Sesame Street has to rely on McDonalds for support. That's really scary. And kind of sad. :cry:
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Here's what I was going to say before the network cut off...


    I totally agree with Mumford in the fact that it isn't McDonald's fault that there's a high obesity concern. It's the consumer. I mean, MCD's isn't the best thing for kids. I mean, once every so often (I draw the line at once a week... that's for people trying to collect the premiums...) and ordering one Hamburger Happy Meal, replace the soda with Juice or Milk. But Parents do this because they are too lazy or in a rush, and they spoil their kids replacing the soda with Milk shakes, giving them the Bigger Kids meals, and a few pies or an ice cream... Not too smart...

    But I agree with Nader et al about the issue of them having to be supported by McD's, Spagetti O's, and Cereal companies. PBS is losing funding from the government (Leaving politics out of it), and then they have to rely on these companies that use this as an oppertunity to advertise on a supposed "Non-commercial" station...

    I mean, it's okay if they went to the old days like saying, "Sesame street is funded by, the Arthur Vining Davis charity, the Chubb group, McDonalds, Spaggitti O's and from Viewers like you." No... they use this to air these 30 spots. I can't see them as anything but commercials. I can't stand how they try to incorperated stuff like, "Alpha bits, spelling the words that make books, like Arthur." Or "Chucky Cheese knows the importance of playtime and imagination."

    What the heck is going on?
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I think Nader should put his money where his mouth is and help fund public television instead of wasting time and funds with these frivolous complaints.

    As a quazi-health-nut, I admit to not liking McDonnalds. I do think they are at fault in selling junk food to America, but where are the parents? My folks were very strict about junk food like that. We were only allowed to eat it on road trips and rare occasions. Don't blame the best program in children's entertainment. They have a bulletproof track record (unlike Nader). Blame lazy parents.

    I don't like the McDonnalds' sponsoring the show, but it must be done by somebody. The spin of the article should have condemned the rest of corporate America and not Sesame Workshop. Nader can kiss my Kermit. :) :mad:
  8. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    the main problem here is self contorle people want to give all the blame to the fast food places for saling it food and making some people fat. But t is the person who says oh i need more then one big mac. sesame streeet is just advertising it sponsers. i would think insteed of a slape on the hand they would be geting a pat on the back. How stupid are some people.

    Dwayne :)
  9. Jennifer12

    Jennifer12 New Member

    Sesame Street and McDonald's commercials

    It seems as if there are several issues here:

    One: the idea of advertising on PBS. Haven't there always been sponsorship ads on PBS? They've always said who their major grants come from. Not ideal, I grant you. It would be nice to have a commerce-free zone on television, but in this day and age with corporate sponsors scratching out the eyes of the competition, it just doesn't seem possible. The only alternative would be to have a completely government controlled channel, and that actually might be worse given that politicians are steered by the same corporate sponsors. The only difference is that on TV you can see what they're selling. Advertising is in your face. Channeling money through politicians is just sleazier.

    Two: McDonalds marketing strategies. I don't eat fast food anyway, but ever since I read Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation," I've avoided McDonalds like the plague. McDonald's marketing to children is nothing new. I know all my fellow Gen X'ers remember when McD's and the phone company had the best commercials on tv. Now, even though there are several phone companies instead of just one, their commercials suck! (The exception being the chimpanzees doing "can you hear me now?") And even though McDonald's has grown tremendously over the last 20 or so years, their commercials suck. The act of advertising before and/or after Sesame Street isn't going to drag people into the place if they weren't already on their way, which leads me to...

    Three: Childhood obesity. Okay, this one will probably be touchy, but at what point did parents become incapable of saying "no" to their children? When I wanted candy for breakfast or a pet dolphin to live in the swimming pool I simply had to deal with the fact that mom said "no." I had to drink my milk and eat my vegetables. Sorry kids, we can't have every meal at McDonalds. It seems to me that if parents were more diligent about setting boundaries and even learning about proper nutrition themselves, childhood obesity would be a smaller problem than it is. As much as I dislike the power of big business in our society, there has to be a point where people take control of their own lives and make educated decisions about life choices. We can't be seriously blaming McDonalds for the high number of overweight people in America. McDonald's as a corporation has done their share of things that are not ethical, but making people obese is probably not really on the list.

    The thing children (and many adults) need to learn is media literacy. People need to be educated to tell the difference between television that is entertaining and television with an agenda that involves selling a product. We need to ask kids what they see. Do they think the people making the show or commerical want them to go somewhere or buy something? Do they really need that product? Or do they just want it? And if they just want it, why? I could go on forever about media literacy, but I've prattled on with my opinions too long already. If anybody actually read all of that, I send muffins to you in the hot tub!

  10. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Jennifer, thanks for your post. I moved it to this discussion. Hope you don't mind.
  11. ssetta

    ssetta Active Member

    This is something. When I was little, McDonald's was always one of the local sponsors of Sesame Street. We got 3 (4) PBS stations, and they all individualy had McDonald's as a local sponsor.
  12. jediX

    jediX Active Member

    Mc Donalds has become a scapegoat for the increasing levels of obesity in youth...just like tv and video games were scapegoats for the rise in juvenile violence. They look for and blame the simplest solutions without evaluating what the actual causes are. If MCD's is selling such fattening food then just don't give your kids it. Their cheeseburgers are repulsive anyways.

    Aren't there more IMPORTANT things for politicans to focus on instead of Sesame Street's advertising??? Are they THAT bored?

    Besides, when I eat fast food I go to Wendy's ;)
  13. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E New Member

    I am all for trying to control America's over-eating habits and all, but "this" is a bit much. Keeping a fast food logo out of SS is not the answer for anything. Want to control obesity? Don't eat at McDonald's so often, if at all. People are not stupid. "Parents" are not stupid. They have the ability to control what their kids eat.

    It's like that case a while back where obese teenagers who ate at McDonald's every day sued the burger chain for making them fat. God ... how stupid can people be?
  14. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    How stupid? I'll tell ya: A jury saw in favor of the obese folks and got them money from the food chain!!

    It's kind of the same thing where a burglar, if hurt on your property by you while breaking in, can sue you for damages/pain/suffering.
  15. Splurge

    Splurge Member

    Here's a question to ask, one that I have no idea of the answer. I live in a city where there is plenty of alternatives to McDonald's in walking distance, among fast-food joints alone.

    But I do wonder if there are many places in America where McDonald's is the only cheap place to eat and get food in the nearby area as well as being the only place to hang out?
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Near school, there are a few fast food resteraunts, a Taco joint, and expensive sit in resteraunts like Bertucci's and some sort of Pub... just that...
  17. jediX

    jediX Active Member

    My high school's cafeteria food was infinitely worse than any fast food could ever produce. Sadly, eating at Wendy's was healthier. lol
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I watched the Sesame Sponsers this morning before leaving, for reasearch. McDonald's is pretty much the most subtle of a commercial.

    Now the Spagettio's one...

    "Spagettio's A-Z pasta, with 8 essential vitamins, proudly supports PBS kids and Sesame street.."

    8 essential viatmins... I dunno about you, but that is BLATANTLY trying to sell something. it's a commercial to me!

    The FCC should really step in about this. 8 essential vitamins and Minerals... UGH!!!!
  19. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E New Member

    Unless you're in one of those truck stops in the middle of nowhere where there is only a McDonald's and a gas station, there is almost always a McDonald's nearby. The largest one in the world is in Hong Kong (Two gigantic stories), and it's always bustling. One of the only places around there to get Americanized fast food at a cheap price. :)

    In response to Fozzie Bear, I'll bet nobody went into that courtroom and said, or at least implied, "Are you two so stupid that you didn't even know most of the food at McDonald's is bad for you?"

    If somebody had said or implied that, we might've seen a whole different trial outcome.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'd love to write an editorial about this...

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