San Francico Tells McDonald’s To Stop Toying Around
According to Los Angeles Times San Francisco’s board of supervisors has voted to ban McDonald’s Happy Meals from the city’s restaurants.

The measure will make San Francisco the first major city in the country to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat.
Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure. “From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It’s a survival issue and a day-to-day issue.”
Just after the vote, McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said, “We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for.”

I know this is serious stuff and kids don’t need a prize for eating fatty foods, but this is also a perfect expression of why liberals have such a bad name. They’re no fun!

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. As one person said, San Francisco is the only place in the world where it’s illegal to eat a Happy Meal but perfectly ok to smoke crack in the street.

  2. Hi Bob,
    It is sort of funny/odd that the most permissive city in America is also the most restrictive when it comes to Happy Meals.

  3. Not sure it’s right to label SF as the “most permissive city in America”—although it has established itself as a center for liberal activism. The fast food industry can certainly be labeled as a conservative, corporate villain deserving the attention and ire of an activist force. If Big Tobacco proceeded to openly hawk products to children, there would be a swift activist response. If liquor companies proceeded to openly hawk products to children, there would be a swift activist response. So why criticize those who go after the fast food industry? If you look at matters closely, you’ll see fast feeders are actually very similar to Big Tobacco and liquor companies. First, they have products that are addictive and hazardous to your health—with plenty of studies and evidence to prove it. Second, fast feeders use the same tactics that Big Tobacco and liquor companies used to lure children, with no one to effectively stop them until now. Third, fast feeders—like Big Tobacco and liquor companies—actually employ spinmeisters and lobbyists to push their agendas. Yale University just released a study showing food companies marketing unhealthy junk food to children have actually increased their hype efforts, despite promising to do the opposite. Past generations saw a need to restrict the advertising from Big Tobacco and liquor companies. We’re seeing a similar movement taking shape in our times with fast food. People—and Mickey D’s—argue that citizens should have the right to choose to purchase what they want, even if a product is unhealthy. Gee, that sounds just like Big Tobacco and liquor companies talking. Remember, Kraft used to be part of the same company as Philip Morris. Bob joked about crack cocaine. The truth is, fast food/junk food has done more damage to kids and adults than crack. We just haven’t yet seen the full end results.
    P.S. Don’t be surprised if some pr wonk employed by the fast food industry leaves a comment to counter this one.

  4. Oops. I think Kraft still is tied to Philip Morris. My bad. But this corporation is so evil, they changed their name to Altria so people wouldn’t realize they’re actually Big Tobacco.
    BTW, David, did you take the time to watch the TED video Danny shared in his post on Domino’s Pizza and government cheese? The video makes the point quite clearly.

  5. HighJive,
    You ask, why I would criticize those who go after the fast food industry. I said that I recognize the seriousness of the issue, it’s just that attacking Happy Meals “sounds” so damn silly. And it’s precisely the kind of thing that makes people roll their eyes at liberals. That’s all I’m saying. If I was on the SF board of supervisors, I’d simply find another way to frame the issue.

  6. Well, I might argue that the media has made it look silly. The legislation seeks to restrict permitting toys to be included in kids’ meals that don’t comply with certain healthy standards. In other words, it’s about reducing the marketing of unhealthy food to kids. The media has framed it as a Happy Meal affair. The truth is, it’s a monumental victory for activists—because it could seriously hurt sales at McDonald’s and other fast feeders. It forces fast feeders to completely revise their sales schemes.
    Activists who have fought Big Tobacco quickly realized that hyping the unhealthiness and deadly qualities of cigarettes is not an effective tactic to reduce smoking. Rather, hurting the companies financially—with taxes and sales restrictions—has been more effective.
    If anything, it forces the open categorization of unhealthiness—as well as forcing fast feeders to admit their shit is unhealthy. This is hardly the first effort made to fight fast food companies. Activists here and abroad have already failed in efforts to place “Surgeon General Warnings” on junk food a la cigarettes. Fast food lobbyists managed to squelch those efforts. Perhaps this silly action is the only thing that could be legally approved. Believe me, the spinmeisters and lobbyists love when journalists and bloggers denigrate the activists’ efforts.

  7. I don’t want to “denigrate” the activists’ efforts. I want to inject a sense of humor into places that sorely need it.
    Liberals are such a pious bunch. Yet, I like much of their agenda. The fact that I do makes me want to help them fix their communications strategies, which are clearly failing to “sell.”