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McDonald’s rapped again by ad watchdog for marketing to children

Mcdonald's logoMcDonald’s has blamed several Queensland restaurants for failing to follow correct approval procedures after again being rapped for offering free food to participants at a basketball tournament.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) upheld complaints against the fast food chain for marketing to children after a ‘Small  Cheeseburger Meal’ or ‘Seared Snack Wrap, Apple Bag & Small Orange juice’ were offered to kids competing at the University of Sunshine Coast Basketball Club Competition.

The offer was redeemable at eight McDonald’s restaurants in the Sunshine Coast.

McDonalds said it encourages franchisees to sponsor activities, including sporting events, adding that organisers often request McDonald’s provide rewards as part of their sponsorship.

“Whilst McDonald’s has strict approval processes for all sponsorship arrangements, it appears that they were not followed in this instance as the Award was not passed through our usual review and approval channel,” the company told the ASB.

“As soon as McDonald’s became aware of the Award, it instructed the Participating Restaurants to withdraw the Award and any similar awards. McDonald’s confirms that the Award is no longer available.”

The ASB rap follows a similar ruling last month when McDonald’s was found to have breached the Quick Service Restaurant Industry (QSRI) regulations by marketing to children at a playground.

Complainants said the repeated offences “suggest it [McDonald’s] does not take its commitments seriously and has very little concern for the dietary health of Australian children.”

“We ask that the Board inquire of the advertiser, in responding to this complaint, as to what action it proposes to take to ensure it  is informed of all McDonalds advertising activities in children’s sporting clubs and events across Australia,” complainants said.

Steve Jones

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