McDonald’s Sponsorship of the Olympics

by Wendy on February 23rd, 2010

I love watching the Olympics. I am so inspired by the athletes and their drive for excellence. But the idealistic dream cracked as I watched an ad from McDonalds. I was actually astonished by the blatant deception. It is false advertising to suggest that McDonald’s high fat processed junk food is THE PREFERRED FOOD OF OLYMPIC ATHLETES. I am appalled that McDonalds is a corporate sponsor and partner of the Olympics. How damaging is this for our already weight challenged kids who are watching the games and looking up to theses performers as role models? Is anyone else upset about this?

The issue here is a bold and conspicuous display of corporate greed and false advertising. It wouldn’t have mattered which sponsor it was. To say that a fast food conglomerate is the preferred food of Olympians is dishonest and sends a distorted message to children that if they want to be an Olympic athlete they should eat that particular brand of junk food. Whoever approved McDonalds as a corporate sponsor should have their head examined! Olympic athletic performance and competition and eating at McDonalds don’t belong together as I am certain any Olympic contender would attest. It is like a tobacco company sponsoring mountain climbers? This just doesn’t make sense with what we know about the harmful effects of regularly consuming their products!

Back in the 60’s when fast food was making its huge impact on our society, there was little attention placed on the actual quality and caloric content of the food being consumed. With slick marketing campaigns, McDonalds and other fast food chains were becoming popular and springing up everywhere. Fast food restaurants now proliferate our neighborhoods.

We have come a long way since those times of ignorance. That ignorance has come at a huge cost to our nations health. Increases in obesity and heart disease have become uncontrollable. More people die of heart disease today then Cancer. Not only are we learning about the health risks of consuming saturated fats, but also the destructive health effects of all the chemicals and toxins used in the growth and creation of the cheap products used by fast food chains and in highly processed foods.

So having McDonalds as an Olympic sponsor in the 60’s and even through the 80’s, based on our ignorance at the time is understandable. Today it is inexcusable. We are infinitely more aware of all the dangers and the devastating results. Now the White House, lead by Michelle Obama, is pushing for help to fight childhood obesity. Even though there are a combination of contributing factors, fast food is a big part of the problem. And to allow McDonalds to suggest that their junk food is a preferred food of Olympic athletes is the worst kind of deception as it directly effects our youth.

A friend’s 6 year old, after seeing a McDonald’s television commercial, turned to his mother and said, “Mom, that is a lie.” We need to rise up as parents and consumers and boycott any company that targets our children with lies for profit.

We have fought this same battle with the tobacco companies. We see that after being forced to change their advertising and to put warning labels on their harmful products, they attempt to put on a helpful public face as though they were positive forces in our world. In reality, they have been exposed for lacing tobacco with high doses of carcinogens to increase the addictive properties of cigarettes and therefore increase the long term profit. They have become an industry of sanctioned mass murder. The cost to our health industry has become obscene, as is the cost of obesity.

Yes, the McDonalds corporation has developed helpful projects that do contribute, and they employ many. However, like the tobacco companies, are they also wolves in sheep’s clothing? Look at how successful McDonald’s marketing has been over the years. We have all been taken in by their persuasive advertising in one form or another. The Happy Meal is as well known as the hamburger. The name has become synonymous with any fast food childs meal that includes a toy. Think about it, a happy name and a toy to entice a youngster to eat what is actually a slow poison? Very powerful marketing indeed.

As we move forward more informed and conscious as a society, we need to be vigilant in exposing those companies which are corrupt. And it is time to call out any form of corporate wrongdoing at our expense for profit.

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