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McDonald’s Is Trying A Controversial New Way To Appeal To Kids (Is It Inventive Or Merely Insulting?)

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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Over the years, people have slowly come to the realization that fast-food chains don’t necessarily sell the healthiest food.

Some people really don’t care.

If you have kids, however, allowing them to bathe in the alleged happiness of these fast food meals is fraught with risk.

The food is filling and the free toys are delightful. Indeed, too often, it’s been the free toys that were truly enticing.

However, fast food chains have become increasingly aware of the changing social mood.

McDonald’s, for example, has pledged to make Happy Meals progressively less harmful to children’s bodies. 

It’s attempting to make at least 50 percent of those meals meet its own nutrition criteria.

Which means: They must contain 600 calories or less, have no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat, no more than 650 mg sodium, and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.

It does, of course, still want your kids to become obsessed with those Happy Meals.

Please, then, consider what the burger chain’s French arm is attempting. 

It’s trying to get kids to forget the actual food, be oblivious to even the concept of plastic toys and embrace, oh, the Happy Meal box.

Yes, that cute little red cardboard thing with the handles should become your child’s best friend.

In a new ad, McDonald’s shows us an adorable little boy who may or may not have eaten a Happy Meal. 

He does, though, have a Happy Meal box. 

And in a fit of unbridled joy and creativity, he decides the box will become his special friend.

He’ll use it to collect things that, for him, have sentimental value.

A pine cone, a pebble from the beach, bubbles from his bath and some peeling paint.

Oh, a little of his mom’s perfume.

The purpose of all this joy? Why, to gift the box to his grandmother.

Shakespeare would need several large ales to digest this one.

Some might think French movies are simply different from those of Hollywood.

They seem to enjoy far more talking and nudity, for example. 

Here, though, there’s clearly a less-than-oblique attempt to create a new connection with kids, one more appropriate to our rapidly drifting world.

It’s beguilingly executed, with the music brilliantly setting the mood.

I wonder, though, whether kids will be prepared to replicate our little hero’s intrepid happy collecting.

Or whether they’ll be far too busy with their noses in a screen to care.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: Inc.com