Send out the Clown

Retire Ronald McDonaldCorporate Accountability International (CAI), a group that works to end irresponsible corporate behavior, is pressuring the [[McDonald's
|McDonalds]] fast food chain to retire their promotional clown, Ronald McDonald, saying the clown is a threat to public health. CAI says, "For nearly 50 years, no one has been better at hooking kids on unhealthy food, spurring an epidemic of diet-related disease. Ronald deserves a break, and so do we!" The Clown is emblematic of McDonalds' effort through the years to build brand loyalty among children to assure they retain customers for life. Today, there's scarcely a child who fails to recognize the ubiquitous clown, CAI says, and nary a parent exists who hasn't been nagged to go to McDonalds. CAI highlights public relations tactics the fast food industry uses, like paying well-known scientists to sit on "nutritional advisory councils" to make it look like companies are taking the obesity epidemic seriously, and funding national health professional groups in hopes of giving their members a positive view of their industry. CAI's Web site for the campaign,, asks visitors to sign a card and wish Ronald a speedy retirement, and shows an elderly clown checking into the "Children's Marketing Icons Retirement Home," where he is greeted by the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel and Spuds Mackenzie.


OK, so I haven't been eight years old in decades, but Ronald is a cultural icon. Forty years ago I picked McDonalds over the poshest restaurant in San Diego - and it was totally Ronald. Today, I say, get over it. Killing Ronald will not solve issues surrounding childhood obesity - getting parents to step up to the plate, setting an example of sensible eating habits, and just plain saying No to junk, that is the ticket.