McDonald’s Unveils an Extreme Makeover June 10

Grassroots organizations like ours are supporting the release of the U.S. premiere of “McLibel” by asking “What’s Wrong with McDonald’s?” Here’s the full press release distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.

CONTACT: Beth Portello, 818-349-8822
bportello@cinemalibrestudio.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 1005

New Ad Campaign Launches As ‘McLibel’ Premieres in the U.S. with Boycott of Fast Food Chain

LOS ANGELES – On Friday, McDonald’s will unveil a new advertising campaign in the Unites States, themed “It’s what I eat and what I do.” In an unlikely makeover maneuver, the fast food giant will depict Ronald McDonald as a snowboarding, biking, soccer-playing clown in a form-fitting jumpsuit.

For many people, this makeover fails to hide five decades of McMultinational profiteering—the inevitable result of pushing cheap, processed, less-than-nutritious food on unsuspecting consumers, the creation and continuation of hundreds of thousands of low-paying McJobs and the ongoing exploitation of children, animals and the environment.

On June 10, Bay Area families and grassroots organizations will protest by boycotting San Francisco area McDonald’s outlet (600 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA, starts at 5:00pm) and attending the premiere of “McLibel,” a feature documentary directed by Franny Armstrong, which chronicles Britain’s most famous libel trial (Landmark Lumiere 3, 1572 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94109). The film is distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.

The film tells the true story of Helen Steel and Dave Morris, two ordinary people who, after being spied upon and then sued for libel by McDonald’s, stood up to the multinational and defended themselves in what became the longest trial in British history. They won. The case has since been described as the biggest corporate PR disaster in history.

“What they promote and what they do,“ says Dave Morris, the McLibel defendant, “amounts to counting their profits for the last 50 years, while society has paid the price – as proven by the damning judgments we won against them in our court case in London. Will this ‘makeover’ really change their track record of 50 years of junk food, McJobs, litter, idiotic advertising, the targeting of children and cruelty to animals? We think not.”

“McDonald’s has rapidly become the international poster-brand for the costs and tragedy of people – especially children – getting fatter and sicker,” said Brandweek’s David Kiley in March. (March 9, “McDonald’s New Campaign Is The Appearance of a Good Start.”)

The brand re-positioning effort follows Morgan Spurlock’s box-office hit “Supersize Me” and Eric Schlosser’s best-selling book, Fast Food Nation.

“The new ad…shows the clown encouraging kids to get up off the couch, eat well and participate in various activities,” writes Aaron Baar of Adweek, the advertising industry’s trade magazine. According to Adweek, McDonald’s spends an estimated $1.3 billion globally on advertising (June 7, “McDonald’s Takes ‘Active’ Approach.”)

In the high-profile English “McLibel” case, London’s Royal Courts of Justice found McDonald’s marketing to have claimed “a positive nutritional benefit which their food did not match”; that McDonald’s “exploits children” with their advertising strategy; found the company to be “culpably responsible for animal cruelty”; and that it was fair comment to say that McDonald’s employees worldwide “do badly in terms of pay and conditions.” And finally, “If one eats enough McDonald’s food, one’s diet may well become high in fat, with the very real risk of heart disease.”

In San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, grassroots organizations are supporting the release of the U.S. premiere of “McLibel” by asking “What’s Wrong with McDonald’s?”

Among the groups are Bay Area Vegetarians, CodePINK, CorpWatch, F.A.R.M., Global Exchange, Good Company Communications, National Lawyers Guild, Olympia Reclaim Democracy, Seattle Reclaim Democracy and SF Vegetarian Society to name a few.

“When I was a youngster, McDonald’s showed burgers growing in Hamburger patches,” says Tammy Lee of Bay Area Vegetarians in San Francisco, one of several groups organizing the boycott on June 10th in front of an area McDonald’s restaurant. “Today they show their trademark clown as an athlete, while obesity is a growing problem for many Americans, especially children. The real challenge is for McDonald’s to create delicious and healthy plant-based foods, and not to keep reinventing their image.”

“McLibel” will open on Friday, June 10 in San Francisco continuing its theatrical run in Minneapolis on June 17 (Bell Auditorium), and Seattle (The Varsity Theatre) and Portland (The Clinton Street Theater) on the June 24. Theater information can be found on www.mclibelthemovie.com with additional theatres to be added soon.

Grassroots organizations interested in becoming involved should contact Rich Castro at rcastro@cinemalibrestudio.com.

ATTENTION EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Screeners of “McLibel” and interviews with Franny Armstrong, Dave Morris or Helen Steel are available upon request. To learn more about the feature film “McLibel,” or to download photos, please visit www.McLibelthemovie.com.

ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO
Cinema Libre Studio is a haven for filmmakers with views, offering one-stop shopping for production, co-production, distribution, marketing and post-production services. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has representatives in Paris, London, Munich, Rome, Madrid and Tokyo. The company is best known for distributing the films OUTFOXED, MCLIBEL, VOICES IN WARTIME, UNCOVERED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, UNPRECEDENTED and David O. Russell’s SOLDIERS PAY. For more information please visit www.cinemalibrestudio.com

ABOUT BAY AREA VEGETARIANS

Bay Area Vegetarians is a grassroots all-volunteer organization dedicated to supporting and promoting vegetarianism in the San Francisco Bay Area. We host a variety of social, educational, and advocacy events every month, as well as the Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian Living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We offer free membership as well as a Veggie Mentor Program. Learn more at http://bayareaveg.org

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