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Disney’s Mickey Mouse health idea

This week First Lady Michelle Obama and Walt Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced that from 2015 Disney will ban junk-food advertising on its children’s television and radio programmes.

Once the new regulations are in effect, food and beverage products will have to meet nutritional guidelines for serving size, calories, and fat, salt and sugar content.

Hip, hip, hooray, scream the health lobbyists. Clearly, this is an important step, not simply because Disney is getting rid of junk-food marketing, but because a major children’s brand has implicitly admitted that the way companies have hitherto advertised to children does indeed have an impact on their health.

But whoa there! What’s this? Only a day later Disney introduces what it calls the “Mickey Check,” described as a Mickey Mouse icon “tool” that “calls out nutritious food and menu items sold in stores, online and at restaurant food venues at its US Parks and Resorts.”

So, let’s get this right. Disney is banning junk-food advertisers to promote Mickey Mouse as a healthy food ambassador.

Isn’t that replacing sugar with a saccharine substitute? Sounds a bit of a Mickey Mouse idea to us.

But then, as Iger acknowledged earlier this week, Disney’s move might be socially beneficial, but it’s also going to be good for business.

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