The group that held mock retirement parties last year for Ronald McDonald placed an ad in local newspapers on Wednesday asking that Oak Brook-based McDonald's stop "marketing junk food to kids."
Corporate Accountability International joined hundreds of doctors in an "open letter to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner" asking the fast-food chain to acknowledge rising health care costs and child obesity in its promotions. The ad says kids are bombarded with advertising, and characters promoting fast food are part of the problem.
"We ask that you heed our concern," the ad reads, "and retire your marketing promotions for food high in salt, fat, sugar, and calories to children, whatever form they take – from Ronald McDonald to toy giveaways."
In response to the ad, McDonald's released a statement saying it cares about kids and is committed to responsible advertising.
"We understand the importance of children’s health and nutrition, and are committed to being part of the dialogue and solution."
In the statement, McDonald's stood by Ronald McDonald as "an ambassador for good" who delivers messages of safety and active lifestyles. "We serve high quality food, and our Happy Meals offer choice and variety in portions just for kids."
Corporate Accountability International disagrees and has renewed its call for the clown's retirement.
"No fast-food chain spends more on profits more richly than the burger giant," said nutrition activist Deborah Lapidus of Corporate Accountability International, "and that has led to many of its competitors to emulate the corporation."