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Burger barons hijack obesity campaign

Subject: Burger barons hijack obesity campaign (Green Party media release) Date sent: Fri, 3 Sep 2004 11:40:58 +1200 From: "Phil Reed" To: undisclosed-recipients:;

3 September, 2004

Burger barons hijack obesity campaign

Green MP Sue Kedgley today revealed that the cartoon character handpicked to front Annette King's healthy eating campaign is a McDonald's marketing icon.

'Willie Munchright', the fictitious purple cartoon that will star in numerous television advertisements, has been a McDonald's character since 1992. The 13 television advertisements that will screen in conjunction with the Food Industry Accord's campaign have been sourced by McDonalds in the United States.

"It is completely inappropriate to be using a McDonald's marketing icon to inform children about healthy eating habits," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party's Safe Food spokesperson.

"What's next? Using the Hamburgler to tell kids to not steal?

"I'm disturbed that there was no admission at the accord's launch last night that Willie Munchright was, in fact, a McDonald's trademark.

"The use of Willie Munchright is symbolic of the accord, which appears to be more about platitudes and public relations than reducing waistlines.

"The hijacking of the healthy eating campaign by McDonald's suggests that the industry accord is a public relations ploy by a food industry desperate to avoid regulation rather than a genuine attempt to reduce obesity in New Zealand.

"Frankly, it's naive to assume that the food industry would voluntarily give up its highly profitable targeting of unhealthy food to children anyway. The food industry accord has as much chance of turning the tide of childhood obesity as King Canute.

"I am surprised that the Minister of Food Safety is using this campaign as her 'King hit' in the government's campaign against obesity. It's almost like seeking dietary advice from Colonel Sanders," she said.


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