Coke and McDonalds Host Carnival of Junk Food Marketing At Rio Olympics

Corp Watch
Pratap Chatterjee

Every four years, billions tune in to watch the Olympics on television. And every four years, major corporations pay millions for prime advertising opportunities as official sponsors. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are no different with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s igniting a storm of controversy over their role.

But by allowing fast food sponsors, the Olympics have effectively been turned a ‘carnival of junk food marketing’ says Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign in the UK. “We don’t think McDonald’s or Coca-Cola should be sponsoring the Olympics because of the way children are affected by the halo effect of their advertising,” Clark told Campaign magazine. “It’s also completely false to claim the Olympics would suffer without this sponsorship money. It’s a small amount compared with TV and other media rights. The Olympics might be a little less shiny without it – and IOC delegates might not get to stay in luxury hotels.”

“If these companies did indeed act responsibly they would not advertise to children,” Dr Fabio Gomes, a Brazilian public health nutritionist and World Health Organisation regional adviser on nutrition told the Guardian newspaper. “They would not send their licensed clowns to Brazilian schools to hook children on their brands and products and they would not promote sugary drinks and energy-dense products that are not recommended by Brazil’s official food-based dietary guidelines.”

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