Channel Seven, the Olympic station, predictably gave no coverage yesterday to a David and Goliath stoush that has erupted over McDonald’s efforts to cash in on the athleticism of the Games.
In one-off ads run in yesterday’s Australian and The West Australian, basketball legend and former Olympian Luc Longleyand dual Olympic hockey gold medalist Jenn Morris counterpunched three McDonald’s post-race pig-out testimonials featuring cyclist Anna Meares and athletes Nathan Deakes and Jane Flemming.
Maccas is running global saturation advertising including a “McAustralia Limited Edition Olympic Games Burger” and an Olympic “Champion Kids” promotion.
In his personalised McD’s promotion, Deakes says: “After both the Sydney and Athens Olympics Games, McDonald’s was my very first post-race meal, just like when Mum and Dad took my sister and I after Little Athletics. I really look forward to a thickshake and a Big Mac after I compete — it’s become a bit of a ritual for me, and I plan to do it again in Beijing.”
In the counter-ad, Jenn Morris punches back; “It’s hard to describe how I felt after scoring the final goal in the final game in Sydney. The last thing I thought about was thickshakes, fries and burgers. Junior sport for me meant oranges. Junk food never crossed my mind. Not then, not at the Olympics – and not now.”
Morris, now Chair of Western Australia’s Healthway health promotion organisation has said: “It’s very disappointing to see the way that sporting champions are being used to promote this type of food.”
Longley, a three-time Olympian says “the idea of eating fast food before or after an Olympic competition never entered my mind. Jumping for that hoop is hard enough without half a kilo of stodge weighing you down.”
The counterpunch advertisements are funded by a consortium of health organisations: the Cancer Council WA, the Cancer Council NSW, the Australian Medical Association, Diabetes WA, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA.