Bloomberg just released an enlightening story on how large chains are advertising to children, which food writer Ryan Sutton promptly Tweeted about:

Yeah, we know. WHAT THE F*CK!?

According to Bloomberg, The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity analyzed how 18 large chains market to children and teens. They found that McDonald’s Happy Meals are dominating children’s advertising. A few key facts:

  • “McDonald’s spent $42 million just on Happy Meal ads in 2012, the researchers estimate.”
  • “The average child in the U.S. between ages 2 and 11 saw 185 Chicken McNugget Happy Meal commercials on TV last year, according to Nielsen data used in the report.”
  • “The next most popular items advertised to kids include Burger King’s Kids Meal (23.4 views per year) and Dairy Queen’s DQ Blizzard (22.9 views), although those products trailed the Happy Meal by a wide margin.”


McDonald’s revamped its Happy Meals last year, after it received ample criticism. Happy meals now include apple slices, smaller fries, and fewer calories. You can view one of the revamped Happy Meal ads below. Still, we are sure the 185 chicken McNugget Happy Meal commercials U.S. kids see every year have to have something to do with America’s childhood obesity epidemic. Right?

[via Bloomberg Businessweek]