Saturday, January 20, 2007

McDonald's brainwashing

So tomorrow we are going to be watching our friend's son. He's four and we're keeping all afternoon and through dinner. This is a huge deal for us, it's only our second time watching a kid and last time it was at least my neice. So if we broke her (which we didn't) it would have been okay. We just feed her ice cream at 4 pm and had her zooming on a sugar high.

Well I think we're going to dinner at McDonald's because we're not really sure what to feed a kid. We haven't eaten at McD's in years, it's gross, but the brainwashing McD's does is amazing. They are able to get kids to believe in them and no other fast food joint. I recall my nephews loving McD's, and my brother hating it. What hold does this company have over the other fast food joints?

Is it the toys? Is it the marketing? It can't be the food, because I think the burgers taste better at Wendy's or Burger King. Although McD's does have the best tasting french fries I think. Maybe it's the atmosphere? The big red haired guy and playground?

Whatever it is, McD's is raking in the dough and has managed through generations to keep capturing the interest of youngster. Personally I had a few birthday parties there as a kid, I think age 4-7, I'm ashamed to admit. But my mom invited my friends, we had happy meals and a playground and it was the best!

I wonder if by the time we have kids we'll be going back to McD's? Much like my brother hating it, yet unable to resist the lure of something fast and easy? I wish I could think up something like McD's and be able to keep reeling in kids for generations.


Trent said...

If it's a one-time thing, ask the child what their favorite foods are and find the healthiest version of these possible. If it's your own kid, you'll have a splendid opportunity to raise them with your own values, which won't include McDonalds.

Living Almost Large said...

The kid turned out to be picky and we went to Wendy's. All he ate were 15 chicken nuggets, I thought 6 were enough. However he usually eats it with other food, not just nuggets. It was pretty interesting day but fun.

Guess I'll go get one of my own. said...

It's the toys. That's what our kids love the most about McDonald's, anyway. Which bugs the heck out of me, because the toys are total crap.

Leo Babauta said...

The toys are a big part of it, but there's a lot more: the cartoon McDonald's characters help position the company in children's minds, as well as the marketing they do with Disney promotions, Barbie, and many other cartoons and toy makers, to include not only toys but commercials, games on the outside of Happy Meals and more.

And then there's the food -- as gross and unhealthy and valueless as we see it, the food is especially designed (researched, tested, redesigned) to appeal to young taste buds. They add sugar and salt and other additives so that children love it.

And of course the cheapness and convenience helps, because many parents will give in to their kids' requests just on pure exhaustion from the end of a hard day and on the lack of funds.

It all adds up so that a kid is ingrained to want McDonald's, and grow up with that as a habit.

Also don't forget the desserts -- cookies, pies, ice cream, McFlurries, shakes.

Living Almost Large said...

Yep he did like the toys. Those things are crap though.

I still think they manage brainwash kids like Leo said. Till today I recall my nephews only wanting McDonalds and knowing who the red haired guy was at a very young age.