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Attack of the Happy Meal

Page history last edited by Angie Akers 13 years, 4 months ago

Mc Donald's was not only a leader in changing the face of advertisingtowards children, but also in catering to children’s wants and desires. Although the fast food industry spends annually around $3 billion in advertising, their market efforts are all directed towards children extend far beyond just conventional television ads. As American societies were spending less time on children’s recreation, fast food restaurants have become the gathering places for families (Schlosser 47). It is said that every month 90% of Americanchildren, between the ages of three and nine, visit Mc Donald’s (Schlosser 47). In the 1980’s, the era of marketing to children, Mc Donald’s , and other fast food restaurants, started to not onlycater their menu choices to children, but they also catered the environments towards children.  In the 1980’s an on slot of fast food restaurants were incorporating playgrounds to their restaurants. Mc Donald’s charges ahead with the idea and named theirs “ Playland”.  Children were enticed by the sea saws, slides, ball pits and small merry-go-rounds. Families now could give their children recreation, food, and attention all in an shortened amount of time and for a reasonable amountof money.













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Not only has Mc Donald’s helped changed the family meal time and America’s perception on quantity over quality and bigger is better, but Mc Donald’s has also changed America’s view on advertising. Up until twenty-five years ago advertising was aimed at the adult American public, but Mc Donald’s, and others, changed that( Schlosser 42). In 1979, McDonald’s introduced their Happy Meal (aboutmcdonalds.com). The Mc Donald’s Happy Meal was completely directed toward children which was one of the first ever, ad campaigns, that were directly addressing children.  In the 1980’s an explosion of children’s advertising occurred. Mc Donald’s knew that many working parents and single parents were feeling guilty about spending time away from their children, therefore parents started spending more money on their children (Schlosser 42). “One marketing expert has called the 1980’s “the decade of the child consumer” (Schlosser 42)”. The Happy Meal served a smaller portion of an adult meal with a toy inside at a reasonable price. Mom and Dad were happy and so was the child. Up until the 1980’s the child of the home was merely a member, but with the change in marketing the child of the family became a large voice that wanted to be heard.

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