QSRs and moms: winning over the toughest audience out there

Jack Blog

July 5th, 2011 By Jack Morton

When pediatricians speak, moms listen, so when the American Academy of Pediatrics last week came out against advertising junk food to kids and said, “We’ve created a perfect storm for childhood obesity – media, advertising, and inactivity,” you could almost hear TVs and computers across America being turned off by concerned parents protecting impressionable young minds from the lures of fast food.

It’s time—as it has been for a while—for QSR brands to rethink how they market to their most important audiences. Not kids—who they should not have been marketing to anyway—but moms.

Speaking as a focus group of one, it really is simple: As a mom, I really don’t like being nagged by my kids to buy stuff that’s not good for them, so I won’t miss fast food brands’ mass market advertising to kids. I really like to buy things that are good for my kids, so I happily welcomed my 8 year-old asking for the oatmeal at McDonald’s on our July 4th road trip. And I really like it when my kids see that even little choices have an impact, so I love it when they urge me to support brands that contribute to the community, or when my 11 year-old reads the napkin at Chipotle that used to be an electricity bill.

There’s a lot of sturm und drang about Ronald McDonald going the way of Joe Camel—but really, it’s a good thing: time for QSR brands to stop doing the easy thing and spending their billions on advertising, and time for them to focus on better products and more active and engaged corporate citizenship. That will win over moms, and yes, it’s the right thing for kids.