Parents foul burger ad for targeting kids

Parents’ Voice have submitted a complaint to Ad Standards calling out McDonald’s Australia and Basketball Victoria for their offer of a free Big Mac promotion emailed directly to children after they signed up to play for their local basketball team.

Parents’ Voice Manager, Alice Pryor, states: “Parents are fed up with unhealthy food companies targeting their children. We are demanding that McDonald’s Australia and Basketball Victoria end this joint promotion immediately, as it is a blatant example of predatory advertising to children and it simply must stop.”

“After being contacted by the concerned parent whose child had received this marketing, we were compelled to advocate on their behalf. No child should be targeted by an unhealthy food company for simply registering to play in their local basketball competition. We are also concerned by the collection of children’s private data, via the mymacca’s app registration, as part of this promotion.”

The concerned parent, from Victoria, says: “I signed my 13-year-old up for a summer season of basketball with a local club. When the email arrived, I could not have been more horrified. Not just a McDonald’s burger offer, with no healthy option, but also a mandatory Macca’s smartphone app install is required. That also means registering for an account. Just shocking to see kids’ sport so compromised.”

Under the fast food industry’s code designed to reduce food marketing to children, companies must not give away food, that do not meet specific nutrition criteria, as awards or prizes to children under 14 years of age.

A Big Mac does not meet this nutritional criterion and won’t provide kids with the healthy energy required for playing sport, with each burger containing 2360kJ, 11.8g saturated fat and 1020mg of sodium. The average daily kilojoule requirement for a fully grown adult is approximately 8700kJ and teens are expected to require less, which means that one singular Big Mac would easily replace more than a quarter of a 13-year-olds total daily energy intake with discretionary foods.

Alice Pryor adds: “As well as submitting a complaint to Ad Standards, this ad has been entered into the Parents’ Voice annual Fame & Shame Awards. These awards are highlighting the worst of the worst in unhealthy food and drink advertising to children, and this promotion is only one of almost 100 ads nominated.”

Alice Pryor concludes: “The advertising codes in Australia are overseen by industry and are full of loopholes. Parents are encouraged to keep the pressure on the food and advertising industry by voting for the best and worst in food marketing to children in this year’s Fame & Shame Awards at Voting will close on 27 October.

“On average, about one-third of Australian children’s diets come from discretionary foods, and this proportion increases with age. The Australian Government must put the health and wellbeing of Aussie kids above corporate profit by holding fast food and the advertising industry accountable through setting and enforcing higher advertising standards.”


Media contacts:

Alice Pryor 0416 219 261

Evie Dartnell 0401 596 797

About Parents’ Voice

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents, carers and health professionals. Parents’ Voice is supported by Diabetes Victoria and VicHealth.

About Fame & Shame

The Parents’ Voice Fame & Shame Awards aim to raise awareness of the persuasive and misleading techniques that advertisers use to promote unhealthy food and drinks to children, and to recognise the campaigns that promote healthy food to children in a fun and appealing way.

Voting is now open for the 2021 awards:

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