McDonald’s Launches New Campaign To Promote Nutrition, Fitness
McDonald's on Tuesday introduced a campaign that seeks to "link its image with healthy eating," the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The campaign, titled "It's what I eat and what I do ... I'm lovin' it," will include television and print advertisements, billboards and special product packages.
The ads will include images of individuals as they snowboard and jump-rope over fruits and appearances by athletes, such as tennis player Serena Williams and snowboarder Crispin Lipscomb. As part of the campaign, a "global team" of fitness experts, such as former National Hockey League player Wayne Gretzky and several Olympic athletes, will help educate the public on health and fitness.
In addition, McDonald's will add a fruit and walnut salad to its menu in the next few months. The new campaign follows the 2004 launch of a "balanced lifestyles initiative," which was "largely a response" to accusations that McDonald's products cause obesity, according to the Sun-Times (Herman, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/9).
Paul Gately, a professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University in Britain who worked with the McDonald's lifestyle initiative, said, "Yes, they are part of the problem." However, he added that "if we just hammer them down into the ground they will walk away. McDonald's is not the cause of the problem."
Margo Wootan, director for nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the new campaign is "more about deflecting blame away from their products and the role of calories in contributing to obesity than it is about protecting the public's health." She added that McDonald's officials should focus on efforts to improve the nutritional content of company products and leave the "fitness to Nike and gyms and sporting goods manufacturers" and CDC (Ives, New York Times, 3/9).