Social Question

Iclamae's avatar

Do you think these people have a case against McDonalds' happy meal toys?

Asked by Iclamae (2409points) June 22nd, 2010

I honestly can’t decide.

A group is suing McDonalds for using happy meal toys as an advertising kick because it makes kids want to eat at McDonalds but McDonalds is terrible for you.

Heart disease and obesity are legitimate health problems and are being brought more into the limelight. But when are we overstepping our regulations?

Is this the same degree of severity as with cigarettes? (Not allowed to advertise to children with these kinds of things)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

SamIAm's avatar

I’m so torn by this whole government regulation of what we eat issue… part of me realizes how unhealthy Americans, generally speaking of course, are/can be. But shouldn’t we draw the line somewhere? How much is the government going to control?

This group can sue all they want, but I really don’t think that the decision should be in the hands of elected officials… there should be, if anything, an incentive to eat healthier… but to control how foods are advertised and what products contain? eh… i don’t know!!

Cigarettes are a little different because there is a legal age… so i guess that’s kind of a different argument. I am curious to see how everyone else feels about this issue.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Here’s the thing, parents should be responsible for what their kids eat. I don’t think anyone should sue McDonald’s because if a parent thinks their kid shouldn’t eat McDonald’s, then the parent should prevent the child from eating McDonald’s. If a parent can’t control what a child eats, that’s a whole other problem altogether.

YARNLADY's avatar

What ever happened to parent responsibility?

How is this any different from using cartoons like the Lucky Rabbit, or a cute baby animal to sell their products on TV? A study last year showed that breakfast cereals most heavily advertised to kids were the unhealthiest. The makers of these cereals also have websites with cartoons, music and games to further entice children to eat their brands.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

So here’s how I see it: As a kid, I loved McDonald’s. I loved their cheeseburgers, I loved the toys, I loved the whole Happy Meal deal. My parents, on the other hand, knew how unhealthy it was for me, and very very rarely let me eat it. They also didn’t buy me every toy on tv that I liked, nor did they let me wear 2 piece bathing suits with chest padding when I was 7 or show off my midriff or excessive cleavage or partake in any prostitot fashion. And that worked because (and this is key) I needed them to pay for it. As a 9 year old, my funds were incredibly limited. As are the funds of all 9 year olds. How much government regulation is right/wrong aside, it didn’t matter what the government said because even if I had managed to get to a McDonald’s without my parents driving me, I wouldn’t have been able to afford one. So I don’t understand why the whole “kids can’t afford sh*t” isn’t enough – if anything, instead of making things undesirable to kids, they should try and teach parents how to say “no” to their children.


Suing McDonald’s for their toy advertising is a poor excuse for these people’s lack of proper parental duties——don’t blame the restaurant chain for your inability to steer your children away from burgers and fries. That’s like trying to sue a beer company for their t.v. commercials because they allegedly turn people into alcoholics! Sheesh.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think it can be compared to cigarettes. When kids start smoking cigarettes, they’re past the age where they could be enticed by something like a toy. In the case of the Happy Meal, a parent still has to get it for them, but if a teen starts smoking cigarettes, it’s going to be done in secret. Obviously a teen can still buy McDonalds by themselves, but that has nothing to do with marketing it to young kids.

I agree with @YARNLADY: Whatever happened to parent responsibility?

When your kid is that young, you pretty much control what they eat. No one is forcing you to go to McDonalds just because your kid wants to.

Iclamae's avatar

Ok, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here because I’m really torn on this.
Let me first say, I do agree about parent responsibility.

Here’s my problem:
The advances in science have unveiled a whole new chunk of dangers. Epigenetics, long term effects from obesity and poor food habits, and social influences in decision making. Because of the previous advertising gimmicks McDonalds has used, they are now a “thing” and have a large fanbase, despite reports of unhealthy effects and chemicals.

Is it the government’s job to regulate the manufacturing of these kinds of unhealthy foods that develop a culture to them? Regular consumption results in long term effects and parents that eat McDonalds habitually tend to raise children who then move on to eat McDonalds habitually (not always, but often).

Smoking was a “thing”. It developed a culture as well that has been phasing out because of the discoveries relating to bodily health and long term health. The government has stepped in and heavily regulated their advertising, their product development, and where people are allowed to smoke in public. I think the difference here is that smoking’s effects are seen much faster and more obviously.

How is this not comparable to smoking?

And there is a surprising number of children (who think smoking is cool) that manage to get a hold of cigarettes, despite age.

I realize this comment takes the toys out of the picture, but I think the smaller lawsuit points to a bigger picture. If the government is allowed to regulate the release of toys in happy meals, how do they justify not stepping in on the bigger stuff?

Iclamae's avatar

On the other hand:

Where do we draw the line on government control of production and advertisement? When are we censoring too much and how do we control what gets this level of regulation?

Jeruba's avatar

I think this is just nuts. Don’t people consider what it means to invite the government into every aspect of their lives, to regulate everything they might do and protect them from themselves?

It makes as much sense to me to ask the government to ban
— advertising of any kind that uses premiums or other inducements to purchase (free bonuses, cash back, economy size, limited special 2-for-1 offer, etc.)
— advertising that promotes a product on anything other than its intrinsic merits (celebrity testimonials, association with desirable lifestyle or sexual prowess or popularity or anything else you can’t actually buy)
— advertising of anything you might hurt yourself with (cars, alcohol, power tools, appliances, air travel)
— advertising of anything you might not be able to afford (luxury items, expensive toys, travel, $6 boxes of cereal, credit cards)

And once we’re doing that, we’d better start thinking of all the ways anyone can abuse, misuse, be confused by, be damaged by, be misled by, or be offended by anything and regulate the hell out of it. Make the government responsible for ensuring that nobody has any bad experiences of any kind! After all, weren’t we promised Happiness just for being born American?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids about the evils of advertising and what its true purpose is – my 4 year old knows all about it, how they’re trying to lure him in with toys (not just McDonalds) but don’t really give a shit about him and only want to fool his parents and that we will not be fooled. He’s a lot more aware now than one gives him credit for and though I have to repeat this lesson, it’s one well worth teaching.

gemiwing's avatar

I think they have a case- but it’s not a winnable one. McDonald’s offers healthier options; apple slices and milk are there for the taking. So the argument is invalid because they’re saying that all McDonald’s food is bad for you. Not true.

It’s up to the parents to decide what their children eat.

MissAusten's avatar

My kids will never turn down a Happy Meal, and good luck trying to get them to eat the apple slices instead of the fries, or the skim milk instead of the chocolate milk. They love those crappy little toys. They know McDonald’s is junk food, but they are young and they don’t care. It’s my job to continue teaching them healthy habits, and learning to view a Happy Meal as a rare treat (like candy or soda). Yes, they ask to stop at McDonald’s every time we drive past those arches. It’s very easy for me to say no, and I honestly don’t understand how it isn’t easy for other parents to also say no. Hopefully by the time my kids are older and have some money of their own, they will have learned to make healthy choices…most of the time, anyway.

I’ve noticed that the advertising McDonald’s does now tries to focus on their ingredients as being fresh and healthy. Really!? Does anyone actually fall for that? It’s like thinking that because a kids’ cereal has added fiber and vitamins, all the extra sugar is acceptable. When we’re watching TV and a commercial like that comes on, I point those things out to my kids. Last night, I was watching TV with my 11 year old daughter and we saw a car commercial that said something like, “Helping you live a better life.” My daughter says, “What they really mean is ‘Buy this car and give us your money so we can have better lives.’”

I think the best way to combat that kind of advertising is to help your kids see through it.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

McDonald’s is giving these dipshits a chance to parent their children.They ought to write a letter of thanks.

Aethelwine's avatar

My daughter would eat McDonalds every day if I let her. The thing is, I don’t let her. It’s really not that hard to say no to your child. This lawsuit is ridiculous.

Seek's avatar

I don’t think the government has the right or the responsibility to protect people from their own stupidity. Unfortunately, too many people seem to think otherwise.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr If only people had to competent before they could have children. Unfortunately stupidity is not a contraceptive.

Seek's avatar


Of all the shitty parents in the world, the ones that take their kids for a Happy Meal once a week are should be way down on the priority list.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr You got that right.

Jeruba's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, I’m seeing two ways to read your remark and am wondering which it is. Do you mean that parents who take their kids for a Happy Meal once a week are among the worst offenders? or that those are the ones we should be worrying about least, considering all the other horrible things that parents might do to their kids?

boffin's avatar

The parents are in charge… Right?
An occasional trip to Mickey D’s is okay..
A regular diet of “Happy Meals” is not!


casheroo's avatar

I agree with the lawsuit..but not just for the reason they listed. The toys usually get recalled for lead. That bothers the heck out of me that they get toys knowing they come from dangerous factories. Just get rid of the toys, problem solved.

Seek's avatar


I took my son out for a Happy Meal on Tuesday.

I think if the worst thing a parent does for their kid is give them chicken nuggets and apple juice, that kid’s got it made.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree with everyone who says that it should be the parents responsibility when it comes to making sure their children have a healthy diet. I am so bored of people trying to sue for every little thing. My parents would buy me a Happy Meal as a treat every so often and I loved it. I still love MacDonalds but I probably go there once every few months which really isn’t going to kill me. My parents taught me the “everything i moderation” rule. They explained how bad some things are for my health if I were to have them on a regular basis but they also didn’t ban things like MacDonalds or sweets completely. If they said no when we asked for a MacDonalds we didn’t go to MacDonalds. Simple. It didn’t matter how much we begged or pleaded, no meant no. Maybe these parents who are trying to pass their parenting responsibility onto MacDonalds are just to soft on their children and are now looking for someone to blame for their overweight, unhealthy kids.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: When I was still too little to make my own breakfast, my mom would sometimes take me to Burger King if we were running late. Apparently, people would give her all kinds of hell for this. I think that’s the worst thing she ever did though. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

Sometimes the advertising really means a lot to the child. I once bought a box of cereal because they loved the picture on it, then I poured out the cereal and replaced it with a more nutritious less sugary cereal, and they loved it. I kept doing that for one whole summer.

Their Mom called and asked what kind of cereal I got them, because they say the one she buys with the same picture on it isn’t any good.

Coloma's avatar

I’m not a McDonalds fan, but my daughter had a few Happy Meals in her day.

Yes, it is up to the parents..but…the old six on one hand, half a dozen on the other ditty.
Yes, McDonalds is not healthy, but…neither is the fire retrardant chemicals in your childs PJ’s, or your carpet or furniture. Neither are microwaves and cell phones and school bus exhaust and power lines and what the hell…might as well eliminate cars since about 5 million people die in car accidents a year.

Pick your poison.

I agree with @Seek_Kolinahr…..better a few Happy meals than a mom on crack. lol

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther