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posted: 5/12/2014 5:01 AM

Shift commercials to family-friendly programs

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Pedophilia, an adult's sexual attraction to children and categorized as a mental disorder, is evil, degenerate, deviant behavior that should be deplored at all times. So why do McDonald's and Fox TV want us to laugh about this?

During a recent episode of "Family Guy" on the Fox Broadcast Network, one of the main characters, Peter, talked about a place that gives him the creeps, "Like when I went to that pedophile opera," Mozart's "The Magic Flute." In the same episode, he also says, "I actually can't believe they let me into heaven. They won't even let me umpire Little League games anymore."

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McDonald's paid for this episode and similar ones. The juxtaposition of this historically family brand with such graphic and disturbing content is jarring, but consistent with a long-term trend that the Parents Television Council has observed.

For generations, McDonald's was the No. 1 fast-food destination for families. McDonald's seemed to go out of its way to maintain a wholesome, family-friendly image. While competitors advertised heavily on raunchy programming and deployed sleazy ad campaigns, McDonald's seemed to ensure that its ads were in family-quality programming.

In 2007, the PTC ranked McDonald's as one of the 10 best television sponsors because of its avoidance of graphically violent, profane or sexually explicit programming. It is no coincidence that during those years, McDonald's outperformed its competitors by leaps and bounds.

Recently, McDonald's' advertising practices have placed the company among the worst in the nation. Now, sales are down significantly. Research has found that when companies perceived to be family oriented advertise on programs with adult content, it hurts their brand equity significantly -- 30 percent -- as compared to when the ad is viewed in a family-oriented show. McDonald's needs to re-establish the trust of customers by pursuing a family-friendly ad strategy.

Tim Winter

President

Bob Sherman

Illinois Chapter director

Parents Television Council

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