Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Burger King promotes inappropriate film

posted by Nell Minow

It infuriates me when fast food companies promote PG-13 films by giving away tie-in toys to children. Burger King is now giving away toys for children as young as three to promote “Iron Man” a movie with “intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence” (according to the Motion Picture Association’s rating board) and opens with a joke about the main character having sex with twelve different Maxim cover models. These toys are intended to get kids to want to see the film. They are also intended to encourage parents to think that the movie is appropriate for children. Oh, and the movie has some jarring and intrusive product placement when the main character says what he most wants when he returns home is a cheeseburger and we next see him holding something that says Burger King.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has called on Burger King to stop giving Iron Man toys to children. CCFC’s Director Dr Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe, said, “When it comes to marketing to kids, Burger King wants to have it their way; linking its brand to a blockbuster film clearly trumps any concerns about children’s wellbeing.” You can let Burger King know how you feel about this issue by calling 305-378-3535 Monday-Friday 9-5 Eastern time.

  • jestrfyl

    There are so many things Burger King wants to have their own way (perhaps their slogan is a prjection of the corporate managments needs). They also refuse to follow Yum Prducts (Taco Bell et al.) and McDonalds lead and pay the tomato pickers a one cent per pound raise (this would equal about .25 cents per burger – or less). Instead the corporate head has been posting on the nternet on to “news” sites false and misleading information about the tomato pickers and their supporters. The seem to have a misconception about their role in modern society. Anything for a buck, in their corporate culture, trumos any sense of corporate responsibility. So I doubt they will even respond to any requests to alter or stop their Kids-Club meal program. For these reasons – and more – I choose not to eat in their restaurants.

  • Cindi

    Hello, What a sad commentary on life! Cindi

  • Brian C

    The last time I ate at BK three years ago, they had TV’s on that were televising news about something grisly and violent while my 6 year old son was with me. I expressed how inappropriate it was to have this playing in a family “restaurant” and asked the manager what their policy was about what TV stations they showed. She said they did not have any policy on the matter, but agreed the content was inappropriate and agreed to change the channel. She appeared genuinely enlightened and was apologetic.
    I think that if you give people a chance to be decent and assume they will be, most of the time people will respond favorably to your requests for a more appropriate environment. In the case of the toy promotion, however, there is a financial motive. I do think it is worth it to contact BK about Iron Man, which my son, now 9, will not be seeing, thanks to Nell’s guidance. My son and I are no longer interested in BK because of their pushy approach of advertising with toys. My son understands the nefarious nature of advertising like this: “They want your money.” Teaching children how advertising works is a necessary practice in today’s advertising-saturated world.

  • Robb S

    Most ADULTS would know NOT to take their 3 year old to a PG-13 movie. If you are that concerned, go see it yourself first and decided for yourself if your children can handle it. And please, quit whining about non-issues such as this. YOU are the parent….Have you heard of the word NO?

  • Eliot Lugo

    Amen to your comment, Robb.

  • Charm

    I have to say amen to Robb as well. As a parent, I monitor what my child watches, and if I don’t think the toy is appropriate, I don’t buy it. I control the purse strings, and I don’t give in to temper tantrums.
    And I took my daughter to see Iron Man. She’s six. She didn’t understand the double entendre, the violence was not graphic, she didn’t buy into the product placement, and she enjoyed the film so much she asked if we could get it on DVD.

  • Nell Minow

    Robb, I entirely agree with you that it is the parents’ responsibility to decide what is appropriate for their children and indeed much of what I put on this site is intended to provide them with the information they need to make that decision. And part of that information includes making it clear to them that just because a toy comes with a fast food meal does not mean that the movie is right for that age group. And just because you know how to say no does not mean that we should stand by and allow children to be even more bombarded with commercial messages than they already are. Sometimes we need to say “no” not just to our children but to companies like Burger King.

  • Melanie

    I completely agree with Nell. I thought Ironman was for kids and almost took my three-year-old. However, I ended up seeing it alone. The first twenty minutes is indistinguishable from a grisly war movie! It’s unrealistic to expect busy and non necessarily rich parents to preview everything. That’s why we rely on people like Nell to help us decide what is appropriate for children. I had no idea that Burger King was promoting Ironman. That is irresponsible. Burger King execs certainly had the wherewithal to preview the movie. Minimally, they could have created toys for older children and done something else for little kids. But they didn’t go that route.

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