MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Australia

McDonald's removes children's app following advertising watchdog complaint

The complaint from the Obesity Policy Council criticised the chain for its way of presenting Happy Meals.

McDonald’s has suspended its its children-focused mobile app from Google Play and the App Store following a ruling from the advertising watchdog.

The case, which was decided earlier this month by the Ad Standards board, was brought on by an Obesity Policy Council (OPC) complaint that accused the fast food giant of breaching the Quick Service Restaurant Initiative (QSRI) for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children

The complaint criticised McDonald's for only presenting Happy Meals with “healthier” options within the Happy Studio App, when the actual meals have unhealthy options.

“The Panel considered that...the advertised product does not meet the requirements of the QSR Initiative by only advertising those products that meet the nutrition criteria, as the advertisement is an advertisement for all Happy Meals, some of which do not meet the nutrition criteria,” the panel said in its ruling.

In a response sent to the Ad Standards board, McDonald’s expressed disappointment with the outcome.

“We were disappointed with the outcome of the complaint, however, we will respect the final decision from Ad Standards. McDonald’s continues to remain committed to ensuring compliance with the QSRI and accordingly have removed the Happy Studio application from Google Play/App Store. The application will be modified to comply with the QSRI and made available again mid-March 2019," the company said.

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