Labour Wants to Cancel McDonald's Monopoly

By Holly Brockwell on at

Tom Watson, the Labour party's shadow secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, wants to get rid of McDonald's Monopoly.

The promotion has been running for years, but Watson has decided that in 2019, with the growing problem of childhood obesity, it's a "grotesque marketing strategy" that needs to end.

The actual government is already working on proposals to try to curb the rising tide of fat children (now there's a mental image). They include banning ads for unhealthy food until after 9pm, even on social media.

Watson, meanwhile, has written to McD's chief exec Ronald McDonald Paul Pomroy:

"The UK has an obesity crisis. Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese. A quarter of children in England are overweight or obese by age five, rising to over a third by the end of primary school. Obesity and a sugar-filled diet cause a variety of serious health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes which costs the NHS 10% of its budget every year to treat.

In this context, it is appalling that your company’s Monopoly marketing ploy encourages people to eat more unhealthy foods by offering sugar-filled desserts as rewards.

It is unacceptable that this campaign aims to manipulate families into ordering junk food more frequently and in bigger portions, in the faint hope of winning a holiday, a car, or a cash prize many would otherwise struggle to afford.

It is clear that McDonald’s Monopoly is a danger to public health. Businesses have a moral responsibility to their customers, and as a society we have a responsibility to safeguard the health of our children.

I am requesting that you urgently rethink this strategy: McDonald’s must stop playing on people’s hopes and prioritising profit over public health. I urge you to cancel this marketing campaign."

Watson himself says he used to have type 2 diabetes but reversed it by losing seven stone through diet and exercise.

McDonald's responded:

"Customer choice is at the heart of everything we do, including our popular Monopoly promotion. This year’s campaign sees customers receive prize labels on carrot bags, salads and our Big Flavour Wraps range, and we have removed the incentive to ‘go large’, providing the same number of prize labels and chances to win on a medium meal as you get on a large.

Nutrition information is clearly displayed online, on our app, in restaurant and across our packaging and we continue to review, refine and reformulate our menu to reduce saturated fat, salt and sugar."

Who's right? Has McD's Monopoly encouraged you to get an extra burger when you might otherwise have had a salad, or does it not matter since you still get your Monopoly points for carrots? Let us know in the comments. [Guardian]

Main image: Mike Mozart via Flickr CC