The ad industry's children's advertising review unit, CARU, has asked McDonald's to emphasize its food a little more and its toys a little less in its Happy Meal spots aimed toward children.
CARU told the company that an ad for Happy Meals that aired on Nickelodeon appeared to have violated industry self-regulations that require ads that feature premiums along with the product to focus primarily on the product being advertised. According to CARU, the ad for a "bionicle," focused on the toy "with almost no depiction of the Happy Meal product."
McDonald's said the ad is no longer running and would take the advice into account next time around.
Just last week, CARU's oversight of kids food ads was expanded as part of a larger effort to address FTC and grocery manufacturer concerns about marketing to kids in the wake of the childhood obesity health problem identified by the Surgeon General.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.