Two days ago, as I reminisced with one of my colleagues, I was reminded of a course I took my senior year in college called advanced public relations writing. Throughout the semester, the focus of our class was food – How it’s made? What’s it made with? Is it good for you?
My niche was the fast food industry and childhood obesity…naturally. For four months, I read articles, made presentations, and wrote press materials until my fingers were blue, all to answer the question “Is the fast food industry responsible for childhood obesity?”
Parent and school groups charged about their obese children falling victims to incessant fast food advertising, while major “quick service” restaurants, like McDonalds and Burger King, pushed the power of choice and the need for exercise.
Between greasy hamburgers, addictive fries, and strongly targeted ads, I was pretty set in my ways when I began my quest to find the answer to the ever-popular question. However, after many weeks of research and consideration, I was surprised to feel my opinions change.
Sure, the double-decker, super-duper, yummy-in-your-tummy burgers taste great and sure, fast food companies are selective about the markets they advertise to, but ultimately, isn’t it the responsibility of the parent to say “no” to their children, understand what’s best, and ensure they live healthy, active lifestyles?
Maybe I’m just the innocent victim of the fast food industry’s destructive spin.
What do you think?
Which argument does the most damage? Which spin is most destructive?