Cindy Hutter

Taking a Bite Out of Mixed Food Messaging

Posted February 20, 2014 by Cindy Hutter, MBA

When I first saw McDonald’s Olympic themed advertising that shows Olympians biting their metals contrasted with good looking, fit, young adults biting into chicken nuggets with the tagline, “The greatest victories are celebrated with a bite,” the marketing professional in me thought that was very clever. The parent and healthcare professional in me were horrified.

There are millions of kids watching the Olympics and dreaming of being the next Ted Ligety or Meryl Davis. They are fantasizing about walking into the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony in a (probably ridiculous looking) red, white and blue outfit. They are picturing themselves standing on the winner’s podium with a shiny metal around their neck and the US national anthem playing in the background. (Even way past my youth in Olympic years, I’m mesmerized by the Olympic spirit and still hold onto the dream of one day being an Olympian regardless of how unrealistic it is.)

But in between watching Gracie Gold on the ice or Bode Miller on the slopes, nearly every commercial break has that McDonald’s bite commercial. How many kids are seeing this commercial and equating McDonald’s chicken nuggets with being an Olympian? McDonalds is an official sponsor after all and there are easily two dozen Olympians featured in the short ad.

Chobani yogurt is also an Olympic sponsor. They’ve been running ads with the tagline, “It’s one thing to sponsor US Olympians. It’s another to be in their fridge.” I wonder how many kids are watching this commercial and see eating Chobani yogurt as a way to be just like hockey player Zach Parise or snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, both featured in the commercials.

It’s impossible to control the spin that is put on food advertising. However, as adults who make food purchasing decisions for the children in our lives, we have near complete control in deciding what our children eat and establishing and modeling healthy eating behaviors. It’s not like children can get in the car and drive to McDonalds or the grocery store to get yogurt themselves—even though some days that would be nice.

So, I have a challenge for you. Take 5 to 10 minutes this week, and ask the kids in your life (your own, nieces, nephews, neighbors) about what they think US Olympians eat. Ask them about the McDonald and Chobani ads. Do they think eating these foods will help them become an Olympian? Make note of how you respond and post your findings in the comments below. Let’s get a conversation going about how to talk to children about healthy eating behaviors.

Share:

Add your comment

 
 

 

Archive

Tagcloud

quality improvement testing QI change data sharing state government city government infant mortality IM CoIIN children's health innovation MCH apps dental care sleep sickle cell disease AJPM SCD preconception care pregnancy planning underserved populations engagement senior leadership breastfeeding breastfeeding support video series health equity health disparities access New York BQIH exclusive breastfeeding NASHP LARC long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health public health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN safe sleep baby boxes Rhode Island preterm birth Medicaid progesterone rooming-in infant health maternal health Baby-Friendly parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles childhood obesity primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center maternal and child health medical-legal partnerships mobile app quality care disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection dads WIC education resources paternal engagement perinatal regionalization risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in smoking smoking cessation prenatal smoking Data information visualization charts SIDS SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching support PDSA Cycle leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision screening vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH obesity health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy NICHQ leadership Berns Best Fed Beginnings Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans vulnerable populations ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit patient engagement system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening asthma ASTHO reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests PDSA acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception interconception health Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis Huffington Post fundraising campaign first responders NYC