It takes a village to…create change!

Donna Bridges is a TPJ member from Victoria. While shopping in Toys ‘R’ Us, Chadstone, she spotted a display of McDonald’s play food. Donna told us: “My husband and I were so disgusted we took a photo of these ‘toys’. Junk food marketing on TV and product placement in supermarkets is bad enough, now this…junk food toys at Toys ‘R’ Us. Absolutely disgusting!!”

Two weeks ago, Donna posted the picture on our Facebook page and after having a look, we wholeheartedly agreed with her. As did you. A number of people commented on the picture and agreed something needed to be done, summed up by someone who posted “(this is) possibly more nutritious and healthy than the real thing!” Our Facebook friends were appalled that ‘toys’ normalising the consumption of junk food were available in an Australian toy store and supported taking action to get them removed.

From past experience, a phone call to the CEO of a major retailer will be politely taken and then ignored. While it’s a start, a phone call is not going to make a difference. We need to have strength in numbers to influence change in the behaviour of a multinational retailer.

This is why we need your help. We have created a free online petition – “Get Maccas out of Toys ‘R’ Us Australia”. As it’s our inaugural petition, we’re learning as we go along. We found the ‘Community Run’ site that hosts community petitions and within moments it was up and running. That was the easy bit. Now the difficult part – how to let people know about the petition and how to encourage signatures.

In less than two weeks, we have collected more than 250 signatures, but the more we have, the more likely Toys ‘R’ Us Australia will listen to parents and the greater the chance they will remove these ‘toys’ from their shelves. Do you know about the petition? Have you signed and more importantly, have you passed it on to others?

We need your signature to help us make a difference. Australia is in danger of hitting crisis point in the battle against childhood obesity. There’s no denying parents have a key role to play, but with research suggesting that companies like McDonald’s aim for 20 consumer visits per month per customer, industry do as well. Put simply, it’s not difficult to see the link between putting ‘play food’ in a toy store and the expectation that children will want this product, play with the product and become consumers of the real thing.

On her own, Donna Bridges won’t be able to get Toys ‘R’ Us to remove all McDonald’s related products from their stores, but with the support of parents across Australia, she can make a difference. Sign the petition, pass it on and as a community we can make a change.


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