Just Chew It: McDonald’s

McDonald’s serves 58 million customers a day in 33,000 restaurants across the world and has Australian sales of $2 billion. It is one of the world’s largest advertisers with an annual spend of US$2 billion.

Ad spend Australia: $55 million

Sports: McDonald’s stamps its brand on cricket, soccer, basketball, AFL, swimming and athletics. It’s everywhere. In 2008 it paid $70 million to be the officlal fast-food restaurant for the Olympics and scored free plugs from gold medallist Usain Bolt and others.

Stars: Shane Warne, Jane Flemming, Nathan Deakes, Anna Meares, Elka Graham.

Targeting kids: McDonald’s sponsors Little Athletics in every state for kids aged 4 to 16. It has just branded 25 Victorian cricket camps as McDonald’s Cricket Camps. This summer its Cricket Legends competition targeted 6-12 year old boys, with a Shane Warne coaching clinic as the prize.  McDonald’s also runs a Football4Schools soccer program and has 32000 kids in competitions organized by Basketball Victoria. Queensland Swimming has 40000 kids learning to swim in McDonald’s swim schools. In 2009, McDonald’s won three out of five Shame awards for its promotional campaigns from the Parents’ Jury. In 2007 a US report claimed that 40% of its US advertising is aimed at children.

The ads: Shane Warne is currently the face of McDonald’s Australia in a huge campaign on TV and the net.

Food Facts: Warne’s ‘Legend’ Chicken Burger has 588 calories and 23 grams (nearly five teaspoons) of fat. A large French fries would add another 453 calories and five teaspoons of fat. That’s half the calories you need in a day and 70% of your recommended fat intake.

Expert verdict: “To burn off a Warnie burger you’d need to walk for nearly three hours or run for 75 minutes. Make that five hours and 130 minutes if you eat the French fries too. Five teaspoons of fat would earn a red light in any labeling scheme.” Kathy Chapman, NSW Cancer Council nutritionist.