Karla Akins Analysis Essay 27 September 2010 Professor Robin Coble Ivy Tech

According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In a study directed by Dina Borzekowski at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health in Baltimore. and increasing appetite. 2009). “Happiness in a Box. traffic lights. and therefore. Maryland. researchers asked 63 preschoolers. to taste identical . are the easiest for human eyes to see (Barringer.” I chose this ad because it’s a first-rate example of why the United States has become the most obese nation on earth. Exposition and Persuasion September 15. red and yellow continue to be the easiest to see (Khounsary. ages three to five.Karla Akins Professor Robin Coble English 112. primarily red and yellow. because fast food in America has become not only traditional. The science behind these two colors is fascinating. Studies reveal that fast-food branding actually makes food taste better to children.000 people in the United States depend on fast food when feeding their families (My Fit of California. Red has the longest wavelength of all the colors. The colors on the box. 2010). 59 million American adults are. fat (Obesity Statistics. 2010).000. This is an important statistic when dealing with such advertisements. more than 64 percent of US adults are either overweight or obese. More than 50. weakens the least when traveling through the air. but more affordable than buying meals and making them at home. One of the ways McDonald’s appeals to children is through the use of color. As we age. Besides being appealing to children. and airport landing strips. 2006). they are also the colors used to get our attention via road signs. in a word. 2010 Analysis of a Fast Food Restaurant Advertisement: “Happiness in a Box” I have chosen an advertisement from McDonald’s featuring two smiling children on a colorful Happy Meal box with the inscription.

000 a year (American Psychological Association. aunts and uncles. 2010). 76 percent of the kids liked the fries in the branded package better than the unbranded ones. liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Besides Television. 2007).Akins Page 3 Analysis Essay McDonald’s food in McDonald’s packaging and plain wrappers. We are all entitled. children are another matter entirely. It is estimated that the food and beverage industries spend over $10 billion a year marketing to children in the United States. and 60 percent preferred the branded chicken nuggets (Borzekowski. all want their children to be happy. this ad is aimed toward children because Happy Meals are traditionally purchased for children. happiness is considered a right rather than a privilege. 49% of those with incomes over $100. or 40. parents now have to contend with junk-food ads on cell phones and the Internet (Purdue Extension. Another thing to be addressed about this ad is its promise to find “happiness in a box. This suggests that television ads strongly influence the appetites of young children. The term “Happy Meal” itself is appealing because of its ability to tap into a parent’s emotions. to “life. According to the American Psychological Association.” While it can be argued that most adults know that happiness can’t be found so easily. children are exposed to more than 100 advertisements a day. they discovered that children in homes with more televisions were more likely to prefer the branded food.” If happiness is as easy to buy as a Happy Meal—who wouldn’t want one? According to the Pew Research Center (Pew Research Center. according to the Declaration of Independence. In this same study.” Only 24% of those with an income of less .000 say they are “very happy. 2006). As Americans. In most cases the children said the food in the packaging without the McDonald’s logo didn’t taste as good as the McDonald’s branded food. Clearly. Parents and grandparents. 2007).

high palatability. the consequences for that momentary happiness are severe. showed that the nutritional factors inherent to fast food (low levels of dietary fiber. 2004). but we can’t deny the appeal to the audience of low-income parents it strives to reach. . If this is happiness in a box. Lydia Tinajer-Deck says.” Did McDonald’s know this statistic when they marketed this inexpensive meal to children? We can’t know for sure. A study lead by David Ludwig.000 say they’re “very happy. are eager to buy “happiness in a box. fish and fresh produce are more expensive. (Drewnowski.than $30. During the survey. 2007).” According to Children’s Hospital of Boston. “As long as the healthier lean meats. Those additional calories add up to an extra six pounds of weight gain per year (Ludwig. sugar or fat are the cheapest option for the consumer. director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington. fruit and non-starchy vegetables. 2010). makes fast food all the more appealing (Associated Press. 30 percent of children ate an average of 187 more calories than children who didn’t. fast food consumption has risen 500 percent since 1970 and childhood obesity has tripled (Children's Hospital of Boston.” Dr. Ludwig and his colleagues surveyed 6. high energy density. high glycemic load. This added to the fact that fresh food costs more. MD. obesity will continue to be a problem for the working poor.” said Adam Drewnowski. 2005). fiber. “The poor have more barriers to dealing with obesity.” Therefore.212 children and adolescents and found children who ate fast food consumed less milk. high content of sugar in liquid form) promote excess calorie consumption. high fat content.” “Energy-dense foods rich in starch. “Fast food restaurants are more common in poor neighborhoods and many parents working two jobs simply don’t have time to cook healthy meals. it’s little surprise that parents who can’t afford to buy healthy groceries. eating healthy and leading an active life.

2007). 2009). Obesity has been found to increase the risk of depression. . According to Dr. exploit the health of the poor in our country (Susan E. Are the Fat More Jolly? revealed that the obese are at increased risk for poorer mental health (Roberts Robert E. (Archives of General Psychology. 2000). we do have to be concerned about whether or not the food they are eating is helping them grow into strong. And this is simply another appeal of fast food. Brian Wansink’s book. However. But in America. Food should be used as a tool to stay healthy and vibrant. 2007).Akins Page 5 Analysis Essay A study entitled. McDonald’s low prices help to feed America’s poor. Mindless Eating. and easy access to palatable food coupled with low prices. Those who are addicted are so because junk food comforts them. Experts remind parents that using food as a comfort is dangerous as it gives children an unhealthy view of the purpose of food (Gahagan. depression can also be a predictor of obesity. 2003). A study by the National Academy of Sciences revealed that people eat comfort food in an “attempt to reduce the activity in the chronic stress-response network with its attendant anxiety. Americans tend to select prepared foods and fast food for comfort uses (Wansink..” Parents may reward children with a trip to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. reinforcing the connection between fast food and happiness.2003). Food’s purpose isn’t to simply make us happy. The fact that highcalorie foods are inexpensive and easy to obtain is a blessing in disguise. we are brought up via media and family traditions that food is akin to celebrations and joy. Children learn early what foods make them “feel good.” (Dallman. These mechanisms…may explain some of the epidemic of obesity occurring in our society. While we don’t have to worry about our children going hungry. But lower prices at restaurants correlate with a higher Body Mass Index. healthy adults. not a drug to make us feel better about life. Cheny.

and the promise of happiness. To allow the pendulum to swing too far the other direction is something we should diligently fight against.Still. and we have the right to advertise our goods freely. and to consume goods as we choose. Food. Because. Coke is selling for less than water. let’s face it. no results of that study have been posted. and no donations to help fight childhood obesity have been made since. the McDonald’s Happy Meal advertisement promising “Happiness in a Box” is an effective and attractive advertisement that reaches children and their parents because of its colorful packaging. It’s easy to see the big picture that Kenner. We don’t need a food police. American children and their parents buy into the fallacy of American tradition and . Inc.. As a result. brings to light: “Things are really stacked against low-income families in this country. it’s easier for low-income families sometimes to just go in and have a quick meal if they don’t get home until 10 o’clock at night. rather than regulation.” In conclusion. Taxing fatty foods will only punish the poor. Their donation of $2 million to the Scripps Institute for studies toward a solution to childhood obesity in 2006 sent a message to the public that McDonald’s is taking note of America’s attitude toward what constitutes good food and happiness. our food is unfairly priced towards bad food (Schlosser. So when these things are happening. repetitive branding via the media. However. is what’s needed. There is a definite desire of the food companies to sell more product to these people because they have less time. director of the movie. McDonald’s would do well to use these same branding techniques to offer healthier choices for children and their parents. At the moment. they’re working really hard and they have fewer hours in their day to cook. this is America. 2009). Their new offerings of apple slices in Happy Meals. is a good start. And the fast food is very reasonably priced. Happy Meals are as American as apple pie. Education.

" General Psychiatry 67. but are at greater risk for obesity. seeing them as rights rather than once in awhile privileges. Therefore. Associated Press. Poor Families Struggle to Eat Healthier. Facts About Marketing to Children. the McDonald’s ad contributes to the childhood obesity problem in the United States today.newdream.php>.org/kids/facts. 28 September . 10 September 2010 <http://www.3 (2010): 220-229. Obesity and Depression. Works Cited American Psychological Association. Fast food is more affordable to the poor who are not only more depressed than higher income families.Akins Page 7 Analysis Essay happiness. "Overweight. 2007. Archives of General Psychology.

obesity. Ali.ca/nutrition/fast_food_statistics.org/faq/37642>. 2009. Inc. Khounsary.org/content/100/20/11696.aiga. Children's Hospital of Boston.obesity.med.htm>. Gahagan. Sheila. Florax. 10 September 2010 <http://www. Ludwig. Fast Food Statistics.sciencedirect.gov/pubmed/17473086?dopt=Abstract>. Borzekowski. "Are the Fat More Jolly?" Annals of Behavioral Medicine 24.edu/yourchild/topics/fightobesity. Obesity Statistics. 10 September 2010.msn. Deleger Stephane and Kaplan George A. Dallman.org/chnews/012004/obesity. Snyder. 10 September 2010 <http://www.cfm/red-and-yellow-kills-afellow>. "Effects of Fast Food Branding on Young Children's Taste Preferences. Robert Kenner.org/pubs/301/are-we-happy-yet>. Drewnowski. 10 September 2010 <http://www. Perf. Dir.. October 2003." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (2007): 792-797.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VCB50H1HM51&_user=10&_coverDate=07%2F10%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high &_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_versio n=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=976761b3d609cc04ad97cb9153a7a8 99>. Susan E.anl. Altering Portion Sizes and Eating Rate to Attenuate Gorging During a Fast Food Meal: Effects on Energy Intake. Cheny. Chronic Stress and Obesity. 27 September 2010 <http://www. Mary F.msnbc.childrenshospital.ncbi. Pew Research Center. 10 September 2010 <http://www. Eric Schlosser.100/20/11696>.M.2005. 4 January 2004. Purdue Extension. Color Red and Danger. Barringer. 28 August 2006. Adam. Samantha D. June 2009.nlm.nih. 10 September 2010 <http://www. Schor.S.abstract?citedby=yes&legid=pnas.org/content.3 (2000): 169-180. May 2007. 10 September 2010 <http://pewresearch. G. The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture.newton. 2010 September 2010 <http://www.dep. My Fit of California. 10 September 2010 <http://www. A New View of Comfort Food. The rising disparity in the price of healthful foods: 2004– 2008 .org>. D. Juliet.G. Dina L. USDA Food . Food. Roberts Robert E. Approximately how much money is spent each year marketing food products to children? 16 March 2010. Are We Happy Yet? 13 February 2006. New York: The New Press.gov/aas. 2004. Clear link between fast food.asp>.pnas.umich. Strawbridge William J.extension. 10 September 2010 <http://www.com/id/9505511/>.myfit. 10 July 2010.html>.htm>. Raymond J. 2010. 10 September 2010 <http://www. David. How Parents Can Fight the Obesity Epidemic. 2003.. Red and Yellow Kills a Fellow. 27 September 2010 <http://www.

npc. Brian. Wansink.edu/opportunities/research_grants/foodaccess/chen. Mindless Eating.php>.umich. New York: Bantam Dell. 10 September 2010 <http://www. 31 March 2009. 2007. .Akins Page 9 Analysis Essay Access Grant.

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