McDonald's spend over two billion dollars each year on advertising: the Golden Arches are now more recognised than the Christian Cross. Using collectable toys, television adverts, promotional schemes in schools and figures such as Ronald McDonald the company bombards their main target group: children. Many parents object strongly to the influence this has over their own children.
McDonald's argue that their advertising is no worse than anyone else's and that they adhere to all the advertising codes in each country. But others argue it still amounts to cynical exploitation of children - some consumer organisations are calling for a ban on advertising to children. Why do McDonald's sponsor so many school events and learning programmes? Are their Children's Charities genuine philanthropy or is there a more explicit publicity and profit motive?