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Coalition Asks BK to Pull Toy Premiums


Amy Johannes

Promo Magazine
April 29, 2008


Burger King and Paramount are under fire for a Kids Meal promotion tied to the upcoming launch of the movie “Iron Man.”

The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood is calling on the fast food chain to pull the six action figure “Iron Man”-themed toys, one of which it includes with the purchase of a Kids Meals. It said such promotions promote junk food and violence in children, and that all fast food companies should stop this type of marketing.

CCFC said the film is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of Sci-Fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content,” and thus inappropriate for Burger King’s target, which includes children under 13.

“Burger King’s hypocrisy around marketing a PG-13 movie to preschoolers is more evidence that, when it comes to food marketing and to marketing PG-13 films, self-regulation isn't working,” CCFC Director Susan Linn said. “This cross promotion points out a loop hole in the self-regulatory system.

Burger King spokesperson Heather Krasnow said the company has no plans to remove its toy premiums.

The company said in a statement it is sensitive to the film's PG-13 rating with its promotion.
"Burger King Corporation respects the viewpoint of parents who may choose not to permit young or sensitive children to view the film or participate in the Burger King promotion," it said. "For those that do, Burger King Corporation wishes to assure parents that our promotional program includes age-appropriate toys for children under 13."

CCFC also charges that Burger King is going against its pledge last fall with the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, to not solicit or accept product placement deals with any medium directed at children under 12 years old.” “Iron Man” is reported to feature Burger King in a product placement deal, the organization said.

Fast food companies and movie studios need to make better decision when it comes to marketing to kids, the group said.

Burger King, however, said it is standing by its pledge with the CBBB not to market its food or beverages to children under 12. The product placement in the "Iron Man" shows an adult character eating a Burger King product, not a child.

The promotion runs through May 12 supported by P-O-P and online marketing.

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