So just what does McDonald's put on those Big Macs?
Let's hear it, everyone 35 or older. A one, and a two, and a ...
"Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles,
onions on a sesame-seed bun."
We also know things go better with Coke, Gillette is the best a
man can get, and Dominos delivers.
We know because we've heard these themes thousands of times in
commercials. We learn a lot from advertisers, and we seem to
remember it forever.
This is no accident, of course. Advertising companies spend
billions of dollars to determine precisely how to reach children.
Some - such as cigarette companies back in the bad old days -
perfected the art of bypassing parents and appealing directly to
children. They know that children make the decisions on how
billions of consumer dollars are spent each year, and they've
learned how to capitalize on it.
This may not seem so bad when it's, say, McDonald's and Wendy's
competing for a kid's dollar hamburger. But think about some of the
slogans kids encounter: "Just do it." Why wait?" "Obey your
thirst." "No boundaries." "Got the urge?" In other words, be
selfish, instantly gratify yourself, regardless of the
consequences. And remember, "He who dies with the most toys
If these are not the messages you want your child to hear and act
on - and surveys show that overwhelming majorities of parents fall
into this category - it's up to you to do something about it. One
step might be to join forces with the Motherhood Project,
an operation of the Institute for American
Values. The project has brought together moms from all walks of
life and political persuasions who, according to an open letter
from the moms to advertisers, have declared themselves "in
rebellion against a popular culture that is waging war on our
The Motherhood Project is long on benefit of the doubt, but short
on patience with advertisers. "We do not believe that you intend to
harm our children," the letter states. "Perhaps you don't recognize
that you are harming them. But you are harming them with such
growing intensity, and with such grave consequences for their
well-being, that we have no choice but to challenge you directly as
a vital step in reversing the tide that has turned against our
But they want advertisers to take the letter's contents to heart.
They want to see more Chick-Fil-A's out there - companies that
position themselves as family-friendly, dare I say Christian
businesses. They want advertisers to cross over to their side in
the culture wars with cleaner commercials and more appropriate
products. They want executives to truly consider whether it's a
good idea to, say, sell clothes that make young girls look like
streetwalkers-in-training. There may indeed be profit in these
sales. That doesn't make them right.
These mothers are ready to talk with companies that want to do
better and to extend all manner of understanding to those trying to
improve. And they are more than willing to walk away from those
that don't take them seriously.
And let's not forget, folks - values education begins at home.
Many of us need to a look inward and commit to improvement, to lead
less media-driven, work-driven and consumption-driven lives. We
need to work harder to assert ourselves and our values into the
lives of our children. We need to teach them to deconstruct the
messages advertisers send. We may not be able to make our homes and
schools and families commerce-free, but that doesn't mean we can't
work to minimize advertising's influence. There is no reason for
our children to be bombarded by advertising, marketing or market
research in their schools. None. And we should see that they
Also, we should join the Motherhood Project in urging advertisers
to quit targeting children younger than 8, to avoid product
placement in movies aimed at kids and to redirect how they spend
the millions they spend now figuring out how to influence our
children contrary to our wishes. It's time they quit promoting
selfishness and instant gratification and quit sponsoring sexually
graphic or violent programming likely to be watched by
We hope, of course, advertisers will work with moms on the
all-important and terribly difficult job of watching out for our
kids. But if they won't, we need to show them we mean business. We
need to show them who really controls the money in the family. And
it's not the 8-year-old.
Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of
First appeared on WorldNetDaily.com
So just what does McDonald's put on those Big Macs? Let's hear it, everyone 35 or older. A one, and a two, and a ... "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun."
Senior Communications Fellow
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