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Monday, January 16, 2012

Ronald McDonald becomes guest editor at the NZ Herald

What the hell is going on at the NZ Herald? Have all the editors along with Steven Joyce gone on holiday leaving an advertising manager to write the editorials? Fresh on the heels of calling for the death of regional TV (that editorial was so unbalanced I was seriously waiting for the NZ Herald to suggest the cash instead goes to their own struggling regional newspaper division), it seems Ronald McDonald was given a guest editorial post with a piece of ill researched crap claiming that it isn't fast food's continual advertising and sponsorship aimed at children which is at fault for obesity rates, but really lazy stupid parents and lazy stupid kids. Glad the NZ Herald could help us out with that stunning assessment, it's always amused me in this fast food and child obesity debate that 'responsibility' always lies with the parent and child but NEVER with the corporate pusher who is selling the product. Isn't that an interesting correlation? Corporate media never blame the corporate products being advertised in their corporate newspapers, which is fine if you are a venal self interested corporate clique, but not so great from the only daily newspaper in the country. What the NZ Herald fails to appreciate is that Fast Food Inc. is very good at manipulating content for their sponsorship purposes and the vast body of academic research clearly points out the Machevillian measures Fast Food Inc. use to ram their brand of drug down kids throats. Pester Power is not mentioned once in the editorial that Ronald wrote, but it's a well known tactic employed by marketers to Children... Today's kids have more autonomy and decision-making power within the family than in previous generations, so it follows that kids are vocal about what they want their parents to buy. "Pester power" refers to children's ability to nag their parents into purchasing items they may not otherwise buy. Marketing to children is all about creating pester power, because advertisers know what a powerful force it can be. According to the 2001 marketing industry book Kidfluence, pestering or nagging can be divided into two categories—"persistence" and "importance." Persistence nagging (a plea, that is repeated over and over again) is not as effective as the more sophisticated "importance nagging." This latter method appeals to parents' desire to provide the best for their children, and plays on any guilt they may have about not having enough time for their kids. ...or as Advertising Executive, Barbara A. Martino so lovingly puts it, ""We're relying on the kid to pester the mom to buy the product, rather than going straight to the mom." The NZ Herald utterly avoids the tactics employed by Fast Food Inc. to gain marketing leverage. Beyond the psychological, Fast Food Inc. build parks and use toys to lure kids in, tactics that if employed by tobacco would cause outrage, but as far as the NZ Herald is concerned, it's just lazy parents and kids, not the corporate pushers who are to blame. An Australian research paper from 2010 on Marketing obesity? Junk food, advertising and kids by Dr Rhonda Jolly makes an interesting conclusion... A diverse group, comprising parents, health economists, politicians and other policy analysts argue that there is incontrovertible evidence that much of the blame for obesity epidemic lies with the producers of foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt—the junk food industry. According to this group, further blame lies with the advertising industry, which uses what are seen as unscrupulous marketing tactics to manipulate children’s food preferences and consumption and to encourage children to pester their parents to purchase these unhealthy products. This group considers that radical steps need to be taken to deal with the marketing of junk foods. Australian advocates argue that in the case of children at least the current self regulatory regime does not work; children are continually, and in a variety of ways, exposed to junk food advertising. One commentator maintains with reference to television, that the narrow restriction of what constitutes children’s television makes it relatively easy for industry to claim that self regulation is effective. However, what is not taken into consideration is that ‘prime-time shows such as The Simpsons and Home and Away… are popular with children’. There is, in fact, a fine line of distinction between children’s programs and programs watched by children, and the junk food industry counts on regulators to overlook that line. ...as far as the NZ Herald and Fast Food Inc. are concerned however, it's the responsibility of the Child and Parent to know that their product is bad for them and as long as they include that information in tiny incomprehensible type on the back of the product their corporate liability and social responsibility ends. It's almost absurd isn't it? The billions spent on marketing to children apparently has NO IMPACT whatsoever. Fast Food Inc. just loves pissing that money away for no financial gain at all, the sponsorship, the pester power, the toys, the play parks - according to the Herald, NONE of that has any effect and as such it's lazy stupid kids and lazy stupid parents who are to blame for the direct health costs of the products Fast Food Inc. sell. It is astounding something so ill researched could pass muster as a NZ Herald editorial - what am I saying, of course something this ill researched would pass muster as a NZ Herald editorial. FACEBOOK TWITTER

7 Comments:

At 16/1/12 1:21 pm, Blogger Frank said...

Cheers for that, Martyn. I left a post on their messageboard...

And you're right; the editorial reads like an ad-man's campaign. Poor journalism. And irresponsible.

 
At 16/1/12 2:25 pm, Blogger haideestar said...

While I agree with most of what you hvae said & junk food & advertising is disgusting , the blame for rising obesity and such is not just food manufactures blame. I as a parent ( I may be in the minority here ) decide what my kids eat - I am lucky to know whats good & what isn't & they get junk food along with a balanced diet .Alot comes down to packages & ads but I am sorry it also comes down to being 'lazy' as a parent your child is your responsibility in sickness & in health .... you are what you eat . Take a little time & care in you children's futures . I also fully support nutrition been taught for free to parents & in schools , but that a whole other story !

 
At 16/1/12 2:47 pm, Blogger Twitch said...

So you're saying that its McDonalds' fault that modern parents are a bunch of fucking pussies that feebly succumb to pressure from the children they are supposed to be disciplining?

 
At 16/1/12 2:50 pm, Blogger Twitch said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 16/1/12 3:23 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

I agree haideestar, so let's make it easier for parents to do the right thing and ban fast food incorporated from brainwashing their kids into pestering them for food?

 
At 18/1/12 8:10 am, Blogger jane said...

First Mac food(ish), then Mac sport, now Macademia. It's a Mactastic world - be in it (if you want a lighter Y chromosone)

 
At 18/1/12 8:13 am, Blogger jane said...

Ooh, and I forgot, listen to Mac-music at Mac-cafe and get Mac-gastro (but look on Mac-Fi to see what the symptoms are)

 

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