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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ronald needs to retire. Now.

Early retirement is a good thing, if your name is Ronald McDonald. That's what a number of children's health advocates claimed at a press conference today.

For nearly 50 years the smiley clown has been successfully pushing fatty fast food to children. Thirty years ago no one talked about childhood obesity because it was so rare. Sadly that is no longer the case. Newspaper articles recently started categorizing children as obese and extremely obese.

Ronald gets a lot of some credit for this tragic situation. The McDonald's Corporation spends more than a billion dollars on marketing in the U.S. alone, much of it spent on advertising directly to children. The fast food giant, in fact, pioneered the concept of marketing to children and spawned a host of imitators.

Children are very susceptible to advertising and marketing messages. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "advertising directed to children in inherently deceptive and exploits children under the age of eight."

I agree with all of the children's and health advocates. It's time for Ronald to go.
~ Paula

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soda's Spin

Now here's a fair represenation of the soda industry's supposedly "voluntary" efforts to control sale of their sodas on school campuses. What a bunch of hypocrites. Advocates all over the nation busted their bums to pry Coke out of schools, with their legion of lawyers, lobbyists and politicians screaming and fighting every step of the way. And now, with laws in place banning their empty calories from schools, they pretend it was their idea. Shame, shame, shame... chain of fools!

Monday, March 8, 2010

We're published - twice over!

In a recent issue of PR News, our ground-breaking media advocacy work on behalf of California's menu labeling law was featured. The four-page analysis recognized our innovative approach that helped make California the first state in the nation to require restaurants to offer up basic nutrition information -- who knew that an Awesome Blossom had 3,000 calories!

Then, in what can only be payback for years of poring through tedious college textbooks, we find that we're now being taught in school. Yep, from page 199 to 212 in the 8th edition of Public Relations Cases, college PR students are learning about our successful efforts with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy to force legislators to take a role in addressing childhood obesity.

- Mike

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bad Mom Turned Food Detective

I had the special opportunity to listen in on best-selling authors Michael Pollan and Dr. David Kessler in San Francisco last Wednesday. To say this influenced me is an understatement. The dialogue opened my eyes so wide that this Southern California girl has fully embraced the Bay Area Foodie World.

Upon joining Brown-Miller Communications six years ago, I was immersed in what was the beginning of the childhood obesity transformation. This week, I witnessed how the seeds have become a movement to look at food and how it affects us and, more importantly, our future generations. Thank you, first lady Michelle Obama for expanding this dialogue.

As a mother of two, it occurred to me that the guilt I often felt when it came to feeding the right things to my children wasn’t completely in my control. I constantly had to fight the marketing messages that surround all of us as we wake up. Answering my children’s questions “why can’t we have soda?” or “what’s wrong with the turkey, cheese and crackers in the cute box?” became an annoying routine while shopping. Through our work with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, I get the issues, and I know how advertising messages can be deceiving. But my children don’t, and I am often left feeling like the “bad mom” who deprives my children of sweets or the experience of “being just a kid.”

This week, however, I felt I had gained some armor of strength from Pollan and Kessler’s discussion of how our culture of overindulgence and over-processed industry policies is eating us from the inside out. We have so much more work to do to reverse the bad policies and habits that have taken decades to establish, and the challenge has only begun.

Inspired by the conversation, it moved me to have a dialogue of my own with my family. I pulled out my signed copy of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Reader’s Edition, and invited the kids to become food detectives with me. It’s time to change the dialogue of food, and it starts at home. I invite you to do the same.

~ Muriel

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