A new study is reporting that very young children are highly susceptible to the daily onslaught of branded fast food advertising: “most 3- and 5-year-olds who taste-tested a variety of foods said they preferred the ones in the McDonald’s wrapper — even though the foods were exactly the same.”
It didn’t matter whether the food was a chicken nugget from Mickey D’s or carrots and milk from the supermarket–when they were presented in branded McDonald’s packaging, the kids thought they tasted better. The study also mentions that more than half the children in the study have TVs in their bedrooms, more than three-quarters have McDonald’s toys at home, and one-third ate at McDonald’s more than once a week.
Dr. Thomas Robinson, who led the study, says, “It’s really an unfair marketplace out there for young children. It’s very clear they cannot understand the persuasive nature of advertising.” (Ha ha! Kids are so dumb! Hey has everyone seen that “Transformers” movie?!?)
It sounds like a good argument for taking the TV out of the four-year-old’s room, but we won’t be the ones suggesting that, for fear of an army of angry parents “explaining” how useful said TV is for placating crazed tykes on a daily basis. So maybe instead, some enterprising person out there should manufacture and sell fake fast-food packaging–bags, nugget containers, cups–for families with young children.