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Sesame Street under attack for airing McDonald's commercials

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

  1. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    I think they should hand out copies of "Fast Food Nation" at the enterance to every fast food outlet in North America. If you can eat fast food after reading that book you've earned the right to. That book has changed people's lives....ever since I've abandon fast food....except for Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
  2. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E New Member

    I don't eat much fast food anymore, either. I eat burgers, but on rare occasions. And when I do eat them, it's almost always either a garden or turkey burger. If you're ever in San Francisco, stop by at a Mel's Drive-In for dinner. Some of the best burgers around! :)

    I do have weaknesses, though, when it comes to American fast food chains.
    Jack in the Box -- Vanilla/oreo cookie milkshakes (their chocolate ones are not great; they have a wierd aftertaste), Wendy's -- Frosty
    McDonald's -- McFlurry, vanilla ice cream, cookies

    I also love Taco Bell -- Basically everything except the chelupas (I love the taste, but they're sooooooooooooo high in fat and bad calories; the worst thing on their menu) :) -- but I guess that's more mexican.

    Go ahead. I'd love to read it.

    Yes, high school. Home of the no-frills $6 chicken sandwhich that looks like it had been in the freezer for at least a week.

    The regular sandwhiches were worse. Wheat bread as dry as one could imagine...
  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I think I'll work on an editorial over the weekend or something, then submit it and see if Phil likes it...

    By far, I am not so offened by McDonald's.. face it... that kind of food IS marketed for little kids, anyway! Besides, they at least rry to hide the fact it's an advertisement... but the one that really offends me, read my previous post, is the Spagettio's one, blatantly going ffor an endorsment...
  4. Hays

    Hays New Member

    Here's the big issue, though - should ANY corporation be able to air commercials - because that's what those spots are - on public television? Remember - public television is supposed to be supported by citizens. If a corporation is making a tax-free "donation" to a program in return for a commercial, that's money out of your and my pocket.

    Even though those spots are carefully crafted to ensure they don't contain a call to action, they are commercials. My son doesn't watch much TV outside of PBS, but he could spot a McDonald's and a Chuck E Cheese's from the car and ask to go there by the age of two. Obviously, as a parent, I'm in control of where he eats, but I'm not really happy with the idea that my kid is brand-conscious before he learns to read, especially when it's costing me tax revenue. If they want that stuff on Disney channel where it belongs, great.

    About 10 years ago, anybody could use "corporate sponsorship" as a tax-free way to get their brand on anything, particularly college football games, which had TV audiences that gave corporations a huge bang for their buck. When the government figured this out, they set up stringent rules about what counted as a "donation" and what didn't. This really hit the arts hard, and right around that time the NEA was shut down. Corporate sponsorship became the only way for arts organizations, PBS among others, to survive, and they worked out those cute little "greeting card" spots where any product can "thank" PBS and wave its brand in your face. Note that none of the foundations (who have nothing to gain) have anything but a mention and possibly a logo.

    I don't know about the connection between kid's TV and obesity, but don't kid yourself that this issue doesn't matter. It's costing you millions of dollars in taxes. If we want public television to be truly public, then we have to find another way to finance it.
  5. Amazing Mumford

    Amazing Mumford New Member

    The only problem is that the citizens don't support public broadcasting enough. I guess I'd rather have corporations donate money to support the shows then not have the shows around at all. The chance to watch Sesame Street, Mr. Roger's, Reading Ranbow, etc growing up was definitely worth any benefit I would've received from those tax dollars. You make some good points though, Hays.
  6. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E New Member

    Remember when LeVar Burton accepted Reading Rainbow's Emmy, and made a plea for anyone who has the money to sponsor the show? I love RR; it was a huge part of my life growing up and is one of the shows -- along w/SS and Mister Rogers -- that I truly believe is partly responsible for who I am today.

    But most people out there don't care about stuff like this. I've noticed, for years now, a steady rise in big-time sponsorships for young children's programming on PBS.

    And it's sad. I honestly fear the day when a lot of these shows are taken off the air. Not just because I still enjoy some of them, but because of the principle of the thing.
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    People take it for granted. Sesame Street will always find a sponsor, but others aren't as lucky. I'm not wild about McDs being their sponsor, but they are a strong backer. They're also reportedly trying to clean up their act. I don't buy it, but baby steps are better than none. With public television placed in the hands of large corporations, I wonder what it will do to the perspective of the young viewers when they grow up.

    What really upsets me about reports like Naders is that it nit-picks on issues without providing any solutions. The whiners of the world never impress me. Form a plan, then I might jump on board.
  8. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E New Member

    McDonald's first announced their plans to "turn around" a couple of years ago. Since then, Burger King and even Wendy's has become healthier. Jack in the Box has a bunch of healthier options now; and Carl's Jr. is also entering the healthier fast food game.

    While McDonald's does nothing.

    I'm not holding my breath :)
  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    They have salads now. LOL! Baby steps.
  10. Smy Guiley

    Smy Guiley New Member

    Did anyone see any of the "The Blues" series a couple of weeks ago on PBS? They all started with A VOLKSWAGEN COMMERCIAL!!!!! Not a "hint" of sponsorship....not an "oops"....a commercial. I remember my jaw dropped open at how obvious it was. It was quite sad, really; the beginning of the end. They've been sneaking this stuff in a lot lately. Have you noticed that "ZOOM" still has some integrity? They have the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation (doesn't quite sound like they sell a whole lot of burgers!) and member sponsorship. No commercials.

    I remember years ago that I used to think they were pushing it when the art supply store that sponsored Bob Ross' "Joy Of Painting" would run a quick ad for art supplies. That's pretty tame now, isn't it?

    later
    eric
  11. Smy Guiley

    Smy Guiley New Member

    Have you tried the fajitas? They taste like canned chicken vegetable soup wrapped in a steamed dishrag! MMM! Healthy!
  12. ssetta

    ssetta Active Member

    Believe it or not, for awhile, the main local sponsor of Sesame Street on Rhode Island PBS was Dunkin' Donuts. And they would run a commercial for Dunkin' Donuts coffee, the same one that's on network television. Wouldn't that be bad for kids? They shouldn't advertise that stuff during kids shows.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member


    I bet people don't really understand the irony or the hidden joke of all this... since Nader was on Sesame Street....
  14. Hays

    Hays New Member

    OK, but here's the obvious solution: These corporations are using tax-free dollars to run commercials for services the public obviously wants. By using commercials, the programs run the risk of altering their programming to "please the sponsor" (the whole idea behind public television is to avoid this; it's kind of like tenor in a university)

    What if the government used the tax money they would be collecting from "tax-free" spots to fund PBS? My point is that, realistically, it's coming out of tax dollars anyway - just the back end. Write your congressman and tell him to get that money back and use it for PBS!

    I absolutely don't want to lose these shows - but if we keep going down this path, how long is it before Cookie Monster will only eat "Chips Ahoy," and Oscar only use "Glad" trash bags? That's what companies like Sesame Workshop and others will face if there isn't more strings-free funding for public television.

    PS. I think Nader's objection to the choice of sponsors is a little ridiculous, given the above obvious problem. Heck, my brief career was frequently funded by Phillip Morris.
  15. billyk

    billyk New Member

    Jeez, why don't they put a warning sign on the Mic D's doors -- under the "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" sign.

    "Warning : The food sold here is hazardous to your health."

    Maybe that would get parents to listen.


    (I'm being sarcastic - can't you tell?)
  16. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I get your point, but that's taking it 20 steps further. I don't see Sesame ever having to do that. Very extreme example. Sesame would close shop or go to network before they did any of that. If McDs dropped out, another sponsor would quickly take its place. Reading Rainbow is another story.
  17. sherlockhemlock

    sherlockhemlock New Member


    The fact of the matter is, Public television has been airing adds for a long time. At one point it was short blurbs about this corperation or that medicine manufacturing company, but now, for years they have been airing almost full car commercials and the likes. I think it's good that people are finally starting to flap their wings about this stuff, but I also think it's silly to pick on Sesame Street, and not the PBS guidelines. Course, since goverment funding keeps getting cut over and over again for Public Television, what choice do they have? We're lucky that PBS is still running.
  18. Hays

    Hays New Member

    It doesn't have to be this way. We, as citizens, can get government funding for the arts back. We are the ones who get to say how our taxes are spent. I think a lot of people aren't supporting government funding for PBS because they haven't considered that tax-free advertising costs them tax dollars.

    I don't think that PBS can continue with its sole support being private donations, especially not membership...and I do think that content will eventually be affected, though I was exaggerating to make the point.
  19. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

    Maybe it really IS only a matter of time before Hooper's store is converted into a McDonald's.
  20. Hays

    Hays New Member

    It is true that Sesame Street seems much more aware of ratings than ever before. And I don't think it's an accident that more and more pop culture is appearing on the show...

    I don't think that's all bad, but it does indicate an attempt to appeal to an audience with expendable income in addition to the target audience. (hopefully the teenagers tuning in to watch Destiny's child aren't parents watching with their kids)


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