Ronald McDonald - Meet Joe Camel in Advertising Jail

Released on = March 14, 2006, 2:25 pm

Press Release Author = Youth Market Systems Consulting

Industry = Advertising

Press Release Summary = Ronald McDonald and his sugar, carbos and fat-pushing
buddies may find themselves in court!

Press Release Body = Since the inception of the Joe Camel campaign in 1987, Camel\'s
share of the under-18 (illegal) market rose from 0.5% to 32.8% or 8000%, worth an
estimated $400 million per year. In a brand recognition study at the time, 67% of
adults knew who Joe Camel was. Among 6 year olds, that recognition factor increased
to 91%, bringing Joe Camel equal to Mickey Mouse in being recognizable to children.
The clout of an appealing cartoon character to influence children is clear.

And now, at issue is the health of our world\'s children. With childhood obesity
rates munching their way up to a 30% increase over the last 30 years, iconic
characters used to peddle less than healthy foods, snacks and beverages to our
children are coming under investigation.

\"It\'s a sticky issue,\" says Dr. Dan Acuff, President of Youth Market Systems
Consulting and the Character Lab who specialize in children\'s marketing issues. \"Do
we want a world devoid of such iconic and entertaining characters as the M&M
characters, Cap\'n Crunch and the Trix Rabbit? It may come to that if certain
legislation and litigation currently being considered has its way. A most recent
case is the Center for Science in the Public Interest\'s upcoming suit against Viacom
(Nickelodeon and Kellogg\'s) for their roles in selling unhealthy foods to children
using Nickelodeon\'s TV ad clout and characters such as Sponge Bob Square Pants.\"

As presented in Dr. Acuff\'s latest book, co-authored by Robert Reiher, Ph.D.:
KIDNAPPED - How Irresponsible Marketers are Stealing the Minds of Your Children,
(Dearborn, 2005), for years now, Sweden has banned all TV advertising to children
below the age of 12.

\"I don\'t think it will ever come to this in our commercially driven culture,\" Acuff
adds. \"But it\'s clear that companies will need to be more careful how and when they
use iconic characters to attract young people to their products\". Companies can do
two things to ameliorate this situation: 1) Eliminate using cartoon characters in
marketing to the below 7 year olds, at stages when they are attached to foods,
snacks and beverages poor in nutritional value, and 2) Improve the \"health quotient\"
of their offerings.

Some companies such as Kraft and PepsiCo are leading the way toward healthier
options for kids. Kraft is exploring healthier product offerings such as nutrition
bars (They bought Balance Bars) and soy products. They have significantly reduced
trans fats. PepsiCo\'s Frito Lay has eliminated all trans fats from their snack
items. Pepsi has also initiated a \"Wellness Initiative\" within their company with
the commitment to create new, healthier brands.

\"No one to date, however, has announced the retirement of their iconic bunnies and
mice or strange sponge guys,\" according to Acuff. \"If these characters mind their
business and watch their steps maybe we won\'t see them behind bars like their buddy

Dr. Dan Acuff can be reached via the Youth Market Systems Consulting website at

Web Site =

Contact Details = Dan Acuff
935 Fairview Avenue, Suite B
Arcadia , 91007


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