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31/05/02 . by Julia Day . Guardian . UK
'Don't eat too much of our food' warns McDonald's
McDonald's in France has been testing an unusually frank marketing ploy - running adverts advising people not to eat too much of its food.
The American fast food giant has run "advertorials" in women's magazines in France featuring comments about diet from two independent nutritionists.
One of the experts said eating too much McDonald's food was not recommended, especially for children, as it would not constitute a balanced diet.
The comments go against the line McDonald's has always put forward - that its food is a nutritious part of a balanced diet.
To put across the company's point of view, the ads include descriptions of what McDonald's sees as the health benefits of its products - that its burgers are 100% meat, that no fat is added in the grilling of meat, and orange juice was being offered as an alternative to fizzy drinks.
"The advertorials talk about McDonald's, children and nutrition and the need for a balanced diet and exercise. There is nothing new or dramatic in this," said a McDonald's spokeswoman.
"The key part of the message was that you shouldn't do anything too often and it was one nutritionist's personal opinion.
"We printed it because it was that nutritionist's opinion and they wanted to open up the debate," she said.
McSpotlight Comment: Reminds one of Phillip Morris, which is required to run
anti-smoking ads as part of its court-ordered settlement with smokers in the U.S., and has been running ads that actually increase teen smoking by appealing to their contrary nature: www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=34933
Proof that PM knows exactly what it is doing: