1. I joined McDonald's as an assistant advertising manager in 1972. Subsequently I held successive management posts in McDonald's Field and National Marketing Departments before becoming Assistant Vice President of and National Marketing and then in 1990 I was made Senior Vice President of Marketing.
2. As Senior Vice President of Marketing I am directly responsible for developing and overseeing all advertising and promotion for McDonald's in the U.S.A. I also work with McDonald's Marketing Directors outside the USA in shaping the company's international advertising and promotion messages.
3. I have read the leaflet "What's Wrong with McDonald's" and the pleadings in this action and can comment on many of the allegations made in so far as they relate to McDonald's advertising policies generally and more particularly in relation to advertising aimed at children.
4. In the USA McDonald's advertising is split into national and local advertising campaigns. All restaurants contribute 2% of their annual sales to an Operators National Advertising Fund which is used to purchase advertising on a national basis. In 1989 approximately $240m was spent on national advertising, of which just over $21m, or 9% of the total, was spent in respect of childrens' advertising. The National Advertising spend in 1990 was approximately $245m, of which just less than $23m, or 9% was spent in respect of children.
5. Advertising on a local level is organised by co-operatives. These are formed by restaurant owners in various geographical locations who join together and decide on local promotions and advertising campaigns. In 1989 the cooperatives spent approximately $184m on advertising of which just over $20m, or 11% of the total, was spent in respect of childrens' advertising. In 1990 $190m was spent of which nearly $20m, or 10% % of the total, was spent in respect of children. In 1991 $212m was spent of which $18m or 9% of the total was spent in respect of children. It is therefore totally incorrect to say that nearly all McDonald's advertising is aimed at children.
6. Virtually all the money spent on national advertising goes to buying time on various television networks. On a local level approximately 80-85% of the money spent on advertising is in respect of buying time on television. McDonald's Corporation itself does not contribute any money to the buying of media time. In addition to the above, McDonald's Corporation has an annual advertising budget, presently some $80-90m, the vast majority of which is spent on the production of television and radio commercials. This ensures that we maintain strict control over the standards of the advertising and of the message being given to the general public. In 1991 we produced about 75 commercials of which approximately 20% were aimed at children (2-8 years and tweens (8-14); tweens being those children who we characterise as being too old for Ronald McDonald). Whilst the local co-operatives are permitted to produce their own adverts for local television and radio these must be approved by McDonald's Corporation before they can be used. Thus I (my department) monitor all advertisements shown in the US.
7. McDonald's have strict guidelines and procedures that must be followed by anyone writing, producing or approving McDonald's advertising. These guidelines are known as the Golden Arches Code ("the Code"). The code conforms with the major network Broadcasting Standards and the guidelines of the Children's Unit of the National Advertising Division Council of Better Business Bureaux, Inc. as well as establishing additional standards applicable only to McDonald's advertising.
8. The leaflet suggests that McDonald's exploits children who pressurise their parents into buying McDonald's food through our advertising material. The use of exhortative language is specifically prohibited by the code, thus children are never encouraged to ask their parents to bring them to McDonald's. Further safeguards are built into the Code to protect children e.g. the Code states that in our advertising we should never promote the sale of food items to children that might be too large for them to consume realistically at one sitting nor should children be depicted as coming to McDonald's on their own as they must always be accompanied by an adult. In addition to the Code, each of the major television networks produces guidelines for advertising to young children and these must be followed if the advert is to go out on television. These network guidelines, as with the Code, are there to prevent the exploitation or deception of children whilst wallowing the positive attributes of products to be put forward.
9. Obviously children are an important target for our advertising as we want them to visit our restaurants. We attempt to convey the message to them that McDonald's is a comfortable and enjoyable place for them to come to eat with their families by promoting the fact that a meal at McDonald's is a fun social occasion to be shared by the family. Therefore all our advertising is very pro-social and tries to promote family values whilst also reinforcing the benefits of education, good nutrition and being part of the community.
10. We have long supported nutrition education for children through the development of school materials and national fitness and nutrition programmes. One of the best examples of this is a nutritional programme called 'Healthy Growing-Up' which we have recently developed together with a number of outside experts for use in the classroom by teachers or kindergarten through to third grade. It has been designed to teach children sensible and healthy eating habits by promoting balance, variety and moderation in their diet. We have also used the Ronald McDonald character to promote nutritional education in an advertisement which we ran called 'Ronald and the Nutrients' featured a rock band which dressed as symbols for vitamins and minerals to encourage children to eat food from the basic nutrient group every day.
June 5 1993|
Appeared in court|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available
transcripts of court appearances: