Father sues McDonald over ‘advertising’ of Happy Meals

Father sues McDonald
Father sues McDonald
A Quebec father has launched a class-action lawsuit against McDonald’s, alleging the company’s Happy Meals break strict provincial laws against advertising to children. Since its debut in 1979, the Happy Meal has been a staple of McDonald’s menu and a go-to meal option on family road trips. But some parents are decidedly unhappy about the hold the fast-food empire has over their children’s stomachs. Antonio Bramante is the lead plaintiff in a newly certified lawsuit that alleges McDonald’s is unlawfully aiming advertising at children under 13 years of age. That would violate the province’s strict youth consumer protection laws. Mr Bramante, a father of three young children, says he eats at McDonald’s about once every two weeks on the urging of his children, according to the court documents. He estimates he has spent hundreds of dollars on Happy Meals, which are children’s meals that come with toys. The Quebec father says the toys are often linked to popular film releases and his children often want to return to the restaurant so they can complete their set of toys. He also claims the restaurant is directly targeting children by displaying the Happy Meals toys at their eye level. In today’s world, parents have to choose their battles. And what’s the easiest thing to give into? It’s to feed your children,” says Joey Zukran, the Montreal-based lawyer who filed the class action on Mr Bramante’s behalf. Quebec prohibits marketing to children under the age of 13, making it one of a handful of jurisdictions in the world to essentially ban all advertising geared towards children. The province has also had a law since 1980 that restricts marketing unhealthy food to children. “McDonald’s has a legal obligation to respect that law and they’re not, in Quebec at least ,” Mr Zukran claims. There are three exceptions, with conditions, to Quebec’s advertising law: for ads in children’s magazines, for promoting a children’s entertainment event, and for advertising via store windows, displays, containers, packaging and labels. Mr Zukran says he is ready to argue McDonald’s is not covered by any of these exceptions.

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