Bad Moms Wanna Know What They Put In The Hamburgers In Australia

By on October 1, 2010

I’m just going to go right and call this one: it’s stupid. It’s really, really stupid.

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It’s an Australian PSA that equates feeding your children hamburgers with giving them heroin. That’s right. HEROIN. I’ll bet you didn’t know that giving kids heroin was okay now.

Seriously: we all know that regular trips with the kids to the Golden Arches is – understatement alert – not exactly optimal, health-wise. But even if this kind of ad targeted McDonald’s directly – which it doesn’t – it would still be absurd. Giving your kid a cheeseburger from a fast food joint is not like giving them heroin. I’ve worked in the addictions field. I’ve met heroin-addicted kids. It’s tragic and terrible and ugly and CHEESEBURGERS ARE NOT LIKE THAT. Even if McDonalds fried their Happy Meal burgers in lard and coated them in chocolate they would still not be comparable TO HEROIN. Comparing hamburgers, even fast food hamburgers, to heroin is like comparing watching Hannah Montana to watching pornography training videos, and even though I’m certain that someone, somewhere, has almost certainly made that comparison, it is nonetheless absurd. And in this case, comparing kids eating hamburgers to kids doing heroin, offensively dismissive of what’s involved in real addiction.

I’ll set aside, too, the classist and mother-shaming character of campaigns like this, although note for the record that if I had hours to rant this morning I would be exploring those issues in shrieking detail. For now, have a gander, and let us know what you think:

Yeah. What I said before: STUPID. Fear-mongering, mother-shaming, fact-distorting, offensive nonsense. Somebody should force these people to visit a youth methadone clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and THEN sit down down for a talk about effing CHEESEBURGERS.

via Jezebel.

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  1. MrsGraves says:

    This hurt my heart to watch. With every little tool she pulled out, I felt my heart rate quickening and my stomach agonizing.

    This is a blatant scare tactic, and a filthy one at that. I don’t love fast food. I’m a vegetarian and I feed my daughter a mostly vegetarian diet as well. And even though I agree that fast food is some of the worst stuff you can feed your kids, I DO NOT think it is ANYTHING like Heroin. What a hurtful, manipulative way to get your point across. This is wrong on so many levels. I almost can’t believe this ad was written, filmed and released but ya know…I’m not really surprised. It’s just REALLY indicative of how skewed our perceptions are of what is and isn’t appropriate.

  2. Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog says:

    Ok. I see your point. But I don’t see that they are talking about addiction. They are talking about having responsibility for what we are putting into our kids bodies. And it is obvious that a good mom wouldn’t inject her child with heroin. It’s so obvious, they decided to use that comparison as a shock to our systems. I will agree that it is a a bit tasteless, but most shock advertising is. And childhood obesity, though perhaps not as glamorous of a fight as working with kids in addictive situations, is a major killer of our population. It’s a slow, insidious death that people are able to brush off simply because it appears to be innocuous.

    This is said by a mom of one slightly chubby child who is addicted to carbs and hamburgers and hates activity. I would obviously never inject my kids with heroin, but I AM contributing to their risk for diabetes, heart disease and many other complications associated with childhood obesity with every burger I buy them.

    This ad made me think and that? That’s the whole point.
    Tracey – JustAnotherMommyBlog´s last [type] ..Road Trip!!

    • Catherine says:

      They might not be talking about addiction – but to use heroin as a reference invites the implication.

      I think that we can all agree that childhood obesity is very, very bad, in in some cases deadly, but it’s not comparable to heroin addiction – other than that it can kill, and that it involves putting something in your body. And unlike heroin, children CAN eat cheeseburgers and not be damaged by it – the implication here is that giving your child a burger is like giving them heroin, which is, as I said absurd. Shock tactics can be useful – but in this case, the shock is grounded in absurdity (I think), and has the effect of suggesting to mothers that if they DO give their children a burger, they are no better than a pusher. Not helpful.

      I think that efforts to educate about promoting good eating habits can be a lot more balanced and reasonable than this.
      Catherine´s last [type] ..From A Distance

      • Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog says:

        But it WAS helpful! I instantly thought about the hamburgers I gave into buying my kids yesterday! I thought about my friends with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) and how difficult their lives are. It helped to kick me in the butt and resolve to be better about limiting our exposure to the fast foods and treats that my kids crave. It may not be tasteful advertising, but it worked.

        We DO determine what their eating habits will be like for potentially their entire lives. Yes, an adult can make a diet change. But it’s difficult. Anyone who has made a radical change will attest to that.

        I wonder if they could have gone a different route by instead showing the fat content in a burger and having her pour it into a glass? Or maybe cutting the gristle off of the beef and just serving that to her child… Either of those would have been impacting to me without the risk of offending people who know what the real dangers of heroin (and other drugs) are.
        Tracey – JustAnotherMommyBlog´s last [type] ..Road Trip!!

  3. Pildy says:

    I think cheeseburgers are utterly addictive and it may well take an extreme comparison to get that point across to some. No biggie.

  4. Annie @ PhD in Parenting says:

    I’m conflicted about this.

    On the one hand, junk food is not heroin.

    On the other hand, I am THRILLED to see PSAs that speak out against and rival the advertising from companies that are selling this junk.

    Yes, the way the message is delivered needs to change. But it needs to be strong, it needs to be frequent, and it needs to be targeted at the kids too (not just their parents).
    Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last [type] ..If you won’t listen to me- listen to him

    • Her Bad Mother says:

      I agree that PSAs countering junk food advertising are important, but as you say, the way the message is delivered needs to change so that a) there’s no excessive and counter-factual fear-mongering (hamburgers are not heroin. they’re not even close. now, if they’d compared fast food to candy or twinkies or whatever, fine. but heroin? no.) and b) there’s no mom-shaming. Suggesting to a mom that she’s bad – that she’s somehow on a level with a drug pusher – for giving her kids a fast food? Shames moms. Shames any mom who has ever ducked into a Mcdonalds in desperation or need or, really, any reason.

      There’s a way to remind people that Happy Meals are not healthy meals (‘remind’ being key – most people already know this – the point of the advertising should be underscore it, and counter any advertising that misleads on this) that avoids these pitfalls. I’d love to see an ad agency find it.

  5. BConthePrairie says:

    First you need to realize were the message is coming from Australia is known for their shock campaigns just watch there don’t Drink and Drive Advertisements. They too are very shocking and this is not a bad thing. Many people need to be truly shocked before they will open there eyes to the reality before them. The point is that Parents need to be more aware of what they are feeding their children. My children only get junkie food when we go to town , since we live in a very rural area this is only once a month sometimes we go to McD sometimes to a sushi place just depends on what we the parents decide. To say hamburger in general are a health risk is silly as a home made hamburger is far different from something from a fast food place. however I can’t say how often we would eat out if we lived in the city it’s just not an option here( can’t even order out here LOL).


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