McDonald's Rap Plan Stalls, Corporation Criticized By Watch Group

McDonald's plan

to pay rap artists to mention the Big Mac sandwich in their songs as a marketing

strategy has come under fire by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood,

formerly Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children.

CCFC is a national

coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned

parents that work to counter harmful effects of marketing to children.

According to the

CCFC, obesity rates are highest among African-Americans and that the rates in

the African-American community are rising.

Dr. Susan Linn,

CCFC co-founder and author of the book “Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover

of Childhood” blasted the campaign.


terribly unfair,” Dr. Linn told “It’s hard

enough to distinguish between ads and content, but to have these ‘adversongs’

turn up in songs that are being marketed and sold to pre-teens is horrible.

Listeners won’t know the rappers are being paid to push Big Macs.”

The CCFC cited

an April report issued by the New England Journal of Medicine that revealed

that obesity-related illnesses may cause a generation of children to have shorter

life spans than their parents.

“This campaign

undermines McDonald’s claim that they are serious about combating childhood

obesity,” added psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint, of the Judge Baker Children’s

Center and Harvard Medical School. “Even as McDonald’s is drawing

praise for pushing salads and apples, they are finding new ways to market high

calorie standbys like the Big Mac to children.”

In March of 2005,

McDonald's announced it would pay rappers $1-$5 every time their song mentioning

the sandwich gets played on the radio.

According to a

report issued by Crain’s today (Sept. 26), McDonald's plan has

stalled because the corporation cannot find suitable lyrics.

A spokesman for

McDonald's denied earlier criticism by the CCFC in the AdAge report, saying

"This is where brand relevance has gone and we have great confidence that

the consumer understands this…We believe that the McDonald's brand is

so omnipresent already in America that having it in music, having it in TV,

having it in movies, is no more intrusive than anything else children experience


Dr. Linn acknowledged

the report that was issued today and refuted McDonald’s statement.

“Rap is the

most popular genre among preteens,” Linn continued. “It’s

a terrible exploitation, especially in an art form that started out being so

positive in so many ways. It’s like moving one toxic waste dump from one

neighborhood to another one."

For more information on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood visit