Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You Gonna Eat That?

(Photo - AP)

It looks as if the golden arches are trying hard to remain a responsible member of the community. Judging by the looks of the kid in the linked photo, however, they'd better hurry up otherwise they may not be able to keep their gravy train from jumping the tracks.

CHICAGO -- Climbing ropes, stationary bicycles and electronic dancing games could join the menu of play options for kids at McDonald's if they prove a hit in a trial launched in several of its U.S. restaurants.

The burger-and-fries company, often accused by critics of contributing to child obesity, is tinkering with the mini-gyms as a possible successor to the popular McDonald's PlayPlace, with its ball pits and crawl tubes.

"Realistically, I can't imagine it's going to necessarily be that beneficial," said analyst Bob Goldin, of Chicago-based food consultancy Technomic Inc. "It's not truly something that's real physical fitness. But it does take their playgrounds to a new level."

On the upside, at least they're looking to other markets now...

BEIJING -- Much of McDonald's Corp.'s success in China -- 42 consecutive months of revenue growth -- is based on its four-year-old five-point strategy focused on product, people, place, price and promotion...

This year, the company introduced the Mega Mac: a Big Mac with four beef patties and a Quarter Pounder. Chinese consumers associate beef with strength and energy, management said, noting a 60 percent increase in sales of beef products.

And, god bless them, in keeping with the standard "woman-as-mother-and-therefore-a-surefire-conduit-to-the-kids" motif ...

the company is appealing to women big time. In May, it launched its China Mom's Panel. That follows the establishment of a worldwide focus group of mothers, and a Mom's Club program launched in May that more than 10,000 women have signed up for in order to access in-restaurant activities such as story-telling, arts and crafts, exercise instruction and games.


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