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Happy Meal website

18 March, 2011

Summary

The OPC complained that the McDonald's Happy Meal website breached the Quick Service Restaurant Industry Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children (QSRII) because the website is directed to children and Happy Meals do not meet the QSRII nutrition criteria.

Outcome

REJECTED

The ASB decided that the Happy Meal website did not breach the QSRII because it does not promote Happy Meals or McDonald's and is not a marketing communication. See ASB decision here

The OPC requested a review of the ASB's decision on grounds including that the ASB's decision was substantially flawed. The OPC argued that the website does have the effect of drawing children's attention to Happy Meals and McDonald's, as the URL is http://www.happymeal.com.au/, the Happy Meal and McDonald's logo is constantly visible, the website promotes the toys available with Happy Meals and the website promotes children's birthday parties at McDonalds. The OPC argued that the overriding purpose of the website is to give publicity to Happy Meals and McDonald's in order to promote sales of Happy Meals and visits to McDonalds, as there is no other reason that McDonald's would invest funds in establishing the website. See the OPC's appeal here

The independent reviewer dismissed the OPC's appeal on the basis that it was open to the Board to reach its original decision. See the final ASB case report here