McDonalds' attempts to rebrand itself as an integral part of a healthy "active lifestyle" continue with the August 15th release of two horribly misguided DVDs for children, "McKids Adventures Volume 1: Get Up and Go with Ronald" and "McKids Adventures Volume 2: Treasure Hunt with Ronald."
Ronald, of course, is Ronald McDonald, the clown spokesman for the hamburger chain and proponent of such healthy active lifestyle choices as the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (730 calories, 40 grams fat, 1330 milligrams sodium), the large order of french fries (570 calories, 30 grams fat, 330 milligrams sodium) and the Caesar Salad with Crispy Chicken and Newman's Own Creamy Caesar Dressing (490 calories, 31 grams fat, 1520 milligrams sodium).
(Yes, that's right... that seemingly healthy salad - with dressing - actually has more fat than a Big Mac, which has "only" 30 grams, along with 560 calories and 1010 milligrams sodium.)
McDonalds may genuinely wish to promote physical activity, but is Ronald McDonald really the best role model?
Was the Pillsbury Dough Boy too busy editing his new Pilates video?
Now to be fair, we haven't actually seen these new McKids Adventures discs (and after this post, it's unlikely that Warner Home Video, the distributors of the McKids DVD series will be sending us review copies). Our strong opposition is based solely on the confusing message they will surely send to children.
Even if there's no overt product placement in the videos, your host just happens to have a restaurant with a playground down the street! The underlying message is pretty clear: "Run, jump and play... and when we're you're done, kids, go visit that nice clown... he'll give you tasty food and free toys!"
Isn't this a little like Tony Soprano doing public service announcements reminding you to do file your taxes on time? Or having Paris Hilton advisng teenagers to practice safe sex? Or asking Billy Joel to star in a Driver's Ed video?
Let's just hope that the Hamburglar's new video series on Crime Prevention comes out before my DVD player is stolen.
Also, folks, unlike McDonald's recent exercise videos for adults, these premium-priced DVDs (only about thirty minutes each) are actually commercial products that will be sold in stores, not given away with a Happy Meal. So we feel the criticism of Ronald as an active lifestyle role model is completely warranted.
For the record, SRP on these McKidVid discs will be $14.98 (each), but most stores will knock at least a dollar off the suggested price. We suggest, of course, that you don't buy them at all.
Details on the individual titles appear after the jump.
[Previously: Mckey D's Free DVDs]
More on these two new McKids Videos, directly from the Warner Home Video press release:
"McKids Adventures Volume 1: Get Up and Go with Ronald" features Ronald McDonald accompanied by a bright and enthusiastic group of children who create a world of entertaining, energetic lifestyles through a series of adventures, songs and journeys.
Kids are engaged as they play in the park, on the soccer field and meet role models.
The DVD is packed with original music videos which are sure to get kids up on their feet and participating in the fun!
Introduction: McKids’ Club House with “Hole Lotta Fun” Music Video
Jumpin’ Jackie’s Studio with “You and I” Music Video
Park Adventure with “Rainbow Ride” and “Bounce” Music Videos
Soccer Adventure with “Sock it to Me” Music Video
“Hero” Music Video
“McKids Jamm Song” Music Video
“Disco Dancing” Music Video
"McKids Adventures Volume 1: Get Up and Go with Ronald" also includes a wide array of enhanced content including “McKids Intros,” which features an introduction to the stars of the video, offering a few facts about themselves via a colorful map of the United States.
Also included is “McKids: Name that Instrument,” an interactive game where viewers will hear several musical instruments and be able to guess the instrument by choosing between four options with their remote control. Additional enhanced content includes “Making the Music Video,” which allows the viewer to go behind the scenes with Ronald and the McKids and trailers.
"McKids Adventures Volume 2: Treasure Hunt with Ronald" teaches kids to love the library as it is a door to a whole new world of fun and active adventures such as “Captain Redbook’s Treasure Hunt,” a ride around the world in a hot air balloon and a day at the Zoo. Like Volume 1, Volume 2 is filled with lively music kids will want to dance to.
DVD content includes:
Introduction: McKids’ Club House
Loving the Library Adventure with “La La Library” Music Video
Captain Redboot’s Treasure Hunt
“Ride the Red Shoe” Music Video
Hot Air Balloon Adventure with The Pyramids and “Worldly Ways” Music Video
City Park Zoo Adventure with “Furry Friends” Music Video and Picnic Area
Treasure Hunt Montage
McKids’ Club House
“Go Go Galaxy” Music Video
"McKids Adventures Volume 2: Treasure Hunt with Ronald" also offers a wealth of enhanced content such as “McKids: Backyard Expedition,” where McKids conduct a safari in their own backyard, encouraging viewers to be curious and discover animals and insects. In “I’d Like to Be,” the McKids use animated graphics to tell viewers what they want to be when they grow up and encourage viewers to consider their own career dreams. Trailers are also included.