Board rules McDonald’s app is fun for everyone

The latest McDonald’s app is a game where players tilt the screen as a sky diver avoids obstacles and collect coins. A complaint to the Advertising Standards Board outlined that the game was simple and, with cartoon characters and appealing language such as “an amazing cool dude”, was directed to children.

In response, McDonald’s said that the game was not directed to children. Some of the reasons they gave were that it required a degree of dexterity, the music was reminiscent of “old school” Nintendo games, the characters had realistic proportions thereby avoiding the typical children’s characters like “big heads with little bodies or eyes that pop out” and it referred to popular culture icons such as “The Neil” an astronaut and “The Fonz” a cool guy in a leather jacket.

McDonald’s is a signatory to the Responsible Children’s Advertising Initiative that specifies to be classified as advertising to children the ad must be directed “primarily” to children. The Board ruled that although the game was simple and attractive to children it could not be considered to be directed primarily to children and so dismissed the complaint.

Case report 0588/14

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