Ad Targeting McDonald's Airs Tonight (VIDEO) | Civil Eats

Ad Targeting McDonald’s Airs Tonight (VIDEO)

Tonight in Washington, DC, a provocative ad tying fast food consumption to heart disease produced by the organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will air during The Daily Show and the local news. The spot features a woman crying over a dead man in a morgue, and in his hand is a hamburger. “I was lovin’ it,” appears on the screen, a play on McDonald’s slogan, and the voice over says, “High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

According to the PCRM, the city has the second-highest death rate in the nation from heart disease, killing 1,500 annually. In addition, DC has more fast food restaurants per square mile than eight other similarly sized cities. The group hopes to leverage these facts to push for a moratorium on the building of new fast food restaurants in DC.

After tonight’s debut, the group hopes to air the ad in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Memphis. Take a look:

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Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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  1. GoneWithTheWind
    Heart disease is genetic. Most African-Americans have a genetic predisposition to heart disease and DC is largely populated by African-Americans. This explains the rate of heart disease related deaths in DC. For certain types of heart disease diet and some serious medication is called for but generally speaking this condition is genetic and not "caused" by fast food and not cured by vegetarianism. I doubt this matters to those who made the ad or love the ad. The important thing to them is that the ad reinforces their biases.

    It is important to note that what you or anyone should pay attention to is NOT deaths from heart attack but pre-mature deaths from heart attacks (or any illness). We all will die from something and our average lifespan today in 1st world countries is a great as it has ever been in history. Dying from a heart attack, stroke or cancer at age 85 or so is not a tragedy it is the inevitable result of being human and alive. Dying at age 40 from one of these diseases is indeed a tragedy and the medical community continues to improve the health and life expectancies of people with a genetic predispostition to serious diseases. When you look at data/statistics like this you need to understand that it is virtually meaningless without knowing the age and medical conditions of the people involved.

    Lastly, it is a popular myth that people who choose fad diets, like veganism and vegetarianism, live longer then people who do not choose fad diets. Again it supports the bias of those who believe it and gets repeated often enough to have a life of it's own but it simply is untrue.

    If you have an existing medical condition it is smart to follow your doctors advice including dietary advice. But if you do not have a medical condition requiring a special diet than choosing to follow a special diet will not prevent that disease.
  2. Rebekah
    "Lastly, it is a popular myth that people who choose fad diets, like veganism and vegetarianism, live longer then people who do not choose fad diets. Again it supports the bias of those who believe it and gets repeated often enough to have a life of it’s own but it simply is untrue."

    ^^ Veganism and vegetarianism are not fad diets. The American Dietetic Association recognizes vegetarian and vegan diets as nutritionally adequate for all stages of life, including infancy, pregnancy, and lactation. There are societies in the world that have been sustained on a vegetarian diet for a very long time. I myself have been a vegetarian for nearly 8 years and my three children have been vegetarian since birth. I would never feed them a "fad diet" but I do feed them a healthy, well-planned vegetarian diet.

    There have been several epidemiological studies that have shown vegetarians and vegans to live healthier and longer lives than the omnivores studied, even when controlling for other factors.

    I think that there are numerous ethical reasons to choose vegetarianism, but the health benefits do exist, and there is certainly nothing faddish or dangerous about being vegetarian.
  3. Gerardo Tristan
    Dear Gone with the wind:

    I guess you dont know about India's 45% of vegetarians or about Jainism, a very old religion which promote veganism.

    Also, for your information, African Americans and Native Americans (I am native American) are lacto-intolerant. furthermore, historically, we did not eat the tons of drug pumped/genetically modified carcasses, african amerircans and other minorities, eat today.

    Please put your biases aside and research a bit more next time you post something on food issues and also stop being so Ameri-centric on your food views.
  4. This ad suggests that eating a hamburger from McDonald's will lead to premature death, and that the way to avoid death is to avoid meat. However, a vegetarian could still go to McDonald's, eat french fries, soda, that fruit parfait thing, the "natural" smoothies, a McFlurry, etc. These are foods loaded with sugar and high in calories; some certainly contain a great deal of fat as well. I am curious as to whether the beef patty alone would contribute more or less to heart disease and poor health than all of the other foods at McDs. While there are good reasons to choose a vegetarian diet, I think these doctors should be more concerned with getting people to stop eating fast food altogether rather than just one ingredient.
  5. amie
    actually, a vegetarian could not get french fries from McDs. They have beef flavoring added to them. Just sayin'.
  6. frankifries
    Im no McD's fan, but why target them. They are not the root of the cause. The govt subsidies are the root of the cause, so why not target the govt, the USDA and FDA for what they market. Cheap, GMO, processed, antibiotic laden, hormone laden foods will surely kill you before a burger. As a matter of fact, the science doesnt support this drivel. Carbohydrates cause the small dense LDL which increase total cholestorol and convert to sugar.. linking back to everyone's favorite diseases.

    Vegetarianism also isnt the answer as heart disease swarms India

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