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Ronald McDonald to promote fitness

 
 


 
Date: Jun 9, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (2:12 - 258.7 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

Ronald McDonald is having a change of image. The mascot clown from the world’s largest fast food chain of restaurants is to become sportier. Ronald will start promoting a more athletic and active lifestyle to kids. TV ads will screen from June 10 with the new look clown wearing a more figure-hugging jumpsuit. In the ads he is overflowing with energy. He juggles fruit, he snowboards with superstar basketball player Yao Ming and plays soccer. The ads are packed with images of energy and fitness. There are juicy looking, fresh strawberries everywhere, but not a hamburger nor a french fry in sight.

McDonald’s is trying to abandon traditional images of fries and burgers dripping with cholesterol. It wants to encourage children to get on the move. Jeff Carl, vice-president of global marketing, said: “We felt it more appropriate to expand the discussion to all foods at this point.” He didn’t mention whether the healthful message of the ads would mean healthier menus in the restaurants. Mr. Carl simply explained that Ronald is “encouraging children to get up on their feet and start moving.” This may help improve McDonald’s image. The company is often blamed for increasing obesity in children.

WARM-UPS

1. HEALTHY KIDS: Are kids today healthy? Do kids need to get on their feet more? Write down three things that kids need to stop doing to become healthier. Write down three things that kids need to start doing to become healthier. In pairs / groups, compare your ideas.

2. McDONALD’S MESSAGES: McDonald’s wants an image full of healthy living and eating. Do you believe their ads? In pairs / groups, talk about how true you think these Mc-Messages are:

  1. McDonald’s food is healthy.
  2. McDonald’s restaurants are real restaurants.
  3. Smiles and fantastic service are for free.
  4. Hamburgers do not result in obesity. Not exercising results in obesity.
  5. McDonald’s “Happy Meals” are great for kids.
  6. Ronald McDonald’s official title is “Chief Happiness Officer”.
  7. McDonald’s is the best place for kids’ parties and free, cheap, plastic Disney toys.
  8. Horsemeat is not used in the hamburgers.
  9. French fries are always hot.
  10. McDonald’s cares about children.

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Ronald McDonald / image changes / clowns / fast food / strawberries / snowboarding / colorful TV commercials / french fries / being on the move / obesity in children

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. STORY PREDICTION: In pairs / groups, use the words from the “CHAT” activity to predict the story in the article. Change partners and compare your stories. If you have different ideas, talk about which is likelier to be in the actual article.

5. McDONALD’S: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with McDonald’s. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

McDonald’s will open fitness gyms inside its restaurants.

T / F

b.

Ronald McDonald will wear a sporty business suit while snowboarding.

T / F

c.

Ronald McDonald is overflowing with energy in new TV ads.

T / F

d.

New McDonald’s TV ads do not show any hamburgers or fries.

T / F

e.

The company is trying to abandon images of cholesterol.

T / F

f.

A marketing boss made a confusing statement about food.

T / F

g.

The marketing chief said McDonald’s menus would be healthier.

T / F

h.

McDonald’s wants children to lead more active lives.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

mascot

bubbling over

b.

chain

being overweight

c.

promoting

group

d.

overflowing

push

e.

packed

correct

f.

abandon

symbol

g.

encourage

increase

h.

appropriate

full

i.

expand

encouraging

j.

obesity

give up

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

a change of

lifestyle

b.

fast food

of global marketing

c.

active

with images

d.

overflowing with

chain

e.

The ads are packed

the move

f.

fries and burgers

in children

g.

get on

image

h.

vice-president

up on their feet

i.

encouraging children to get

energy

j.

increasing obesity

dripping with cholesterol

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Ronald McDonald to promote fitness

Ronald McDonald is having a change of ________. The mascot clown from the world’s largest fast food ________ of restaurants is to become ________. Ronald will start promoting a more athletic and active ________ to kids. TV ads will ________ from June 10 with the new look clown wearing a more figure-hugging jumpsuit. In the ads he is ________ with energy. He juggles fruit, he snowboards with superstar basketball player Yao Ming and plays soccer. The ads are ________ with images of energy and fitness. There are juicy looking, fresh strawberries everywhere, but not a hamburger nor a french fry in ________.

 

 

sportier
packed
image
lifestyle
overflowing
chain
sight
screen

McDonald’s is trying to ________ traditional images of fries and burgers ________ with cholesterol. It wants to encourage children to get on the ________. Jeff Carl, ________ -president of global marketing, said: “We felt it more appropriate to expand the discussion to all foods at this point.” He didn’t mention whether the ________ message of the ads would mean healthier ________ in the restaurants. Mr. Carl simply explained that Ronald is “encouraging children to get up on their ________ and start moving.” This may help improve McDonald’s image. The company is often blamed for increasing ________ in children.

 

move
feet
healthful
dripping
obesity
vice
menus
abandon


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘food’ and ‘chain’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT HAMBURGER SURVEY: In pairs / groups write down questions about hamburgers and kids’ fitness.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • image
  • athletic
  • jumpsuit
  • overflowing
  • packed
  • sight
  • abandon
  • encourage
  • expand
  • menus
  • feet
  • obesity

 DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What was your first thought when you saw this headline?
  2. Do you think Ronald McDonald is a dangerous man?
  3. Do you think Ronald McDonald is good for kids?
  4. Do you think Ronald McDonald represents fitness and health?
  5. What do you think of McDonald’s trying to promote fitness?
  6. Do you think it is wrong for McDonald’s ads to show strawberries but not burgers or fries?
  7. Do you think it is good that McDonald’s is encouraging an active lifestyle for kids?
  8. Can you remember the first time you went to McDonald’s?
  9. Do you think McDonald’s meals are balanced?
  10. What changes would you suggest to McDonald’s bosses?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. Do you like McDonald’s?
  3. Do you think McDonald’s will still be serving hamburgers ten years from now?
  4. Why is McDonalds so successful?
  5. Is McDonald’s the best fast food restaurant?
  6. Should parents limit the number of times a year their children visit McDonald’s?
  7. What do you think of a snowboarding Ronald McDonald?
  8. Should sports stars avoid being in McDonald’s TV ads?
  9. Do you have a favorite burger?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

ROLE PLAY: This role play is to discuss whether or not the new McDonald’s ads are misleading to children. Team up with classmates who have the same role as you and develop your ideas and “strategies”.

Introduce yourself to the other role players before the role play begins.

Role A

You are Ronald McDonald. Since you started snowboarding, playing soccer and eating strawberries you have become very fit and healthy. You believe kids can eat as much McDonald’s as they want as long as they exercise. Getting on the move is key to children’s health.
 

Role B

You are an advertising officer working for your government. You think McDonald’s is lying in its TV ads. You know everyone knows that McDonald’s is unhealthy. You want McDonald’s to end its strawberry and fitness campaign and advertise more honestly about the dangers of cholesterol.
 

Role C

You are a concerned parent who wants his/her kids to be healthy. You hate McDonald’s gimmicks – the cheap Disney toys that bring children into the restaurants, the poor attempts at health food (salads) and now snowboarding, sporty Ronald. You hate Ronald McDonald and want him to stop lying to children. Obesity in children isn’t good.
 

Role D

You are a kid. McDonald’s is your favorite. You think Ronald is cool – he’s always so happy – such a good role model for kids. The burgers are much better than your mum’s / mom’s cooking. The McDonald’s Happy Meals are the best. You think Ronald’s new message of fitness is great. You will definitely become more active – just like Ronald.
 

Change roles and repeat the role play. Comment in groups about the differences between the two role plays.

Talk about whether you agreed with what you said in your roles.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Ronald McDonald to promote fitness

Ronald McDonald is having __ ______ __ ______. The mascot clown from the world’s largest fast food chain of restaurants is to become sportier. Ronald will start promoting a more ________ ___ ______ lifestyle to kids. TV ads will screen from June 10 with the new look clown wearing a ____ ______-_______ jumpsuit. In the ads he is overflowing with energy. He juggles fruit, he snowboards with superstar basketball player Yao Ming and plays soccer. The ads are ______ ____ ______ of energy and fitness. There are juicy looking, fresh strawberries everywhere, but not a hamburger nor a _______ ____ ___ _______.

McDonald’s is trying to abandon ___________ _______ ___ fries and burgers dripping with cholesterol. It wants to encourage children to
___ __ ___ ____. Jeff Carl, vice-president of global marketing, said: “We felt it more appropriate to expand the discussion to all foods at this point.” He ______ _______ ________ the healthful message of the ads would mean healthier menus in the restaurants. Mr. Carl simply explained that Ronald is “encouraging children to ___ __ __ _____ _____ and start moving.” This may help improve McDonald’s image. The company is often blamed for __________ ________ in children.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Ronald McDonald. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. FITNESS 4 KIDS: Make a poster for children that highlights the advantages of an active lifestyle and the dangers of a lazy one. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you have the same ideas?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to the boss of McDonald’s telling him/her your thoughts on the latest role for Ronald McDonald. Read your letter to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. T

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

mascot

symbol

b.

chain

group

c.

promoting

encouraging

d.

overflowing

bubbling over

e.

packed

full

f.

abandon

give up

g.

encourage

push

h.

appropriate

correct

i.

expand

increase

j.

obesity

being overweight

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

a change of

image

b.

fast food

chain

c.

active

lifestyle

d.

overflowing with

energy

e.

The ads are packed

with images

f.

fries and burgers

dripping with cholesterol

g.

get on

the move

h.

vice-president

of global marketing

i.

encouraging children to get

up on their feet

j.

increasing obesity

in children

GAP FILL:

Ronald McDonald to promote fitness

Ronald McDonald is having a change of image. The mascot clown from the world’s largest fast food chain of restaurants is to become sportier. Ronald will start promoting a more athletic and active lifestyle to kids. TV ads will screen from June 10 with the new look clown wearing a more figure-hugging jumpsuit. In the ads he is overflowing with energy. He juggles fruit, he snowboards with superstar basketball player Yao Ming and plays soccer. The ads are packed with images of energy and fitness. There are juicy looking, fresh strawberries everywhere, but not a hamburger nor a french fry in sight.

McDonald’s is trying to abandon traditional images of fries and burgers dripping with cholesterol. It wants to encourage children to get on the move. Jeff Carl, vice-president of global marketing, said: “We felt it more appropriate to expand the discussion to all foods at this point.” He didn’t mention whether the healthful message of the ads would mean healthier menus in the restaurants. Mr. Carl simply explained that Ronald is “encouraging children to get up on their feet and start moving.” This may help improve McDonald’s image. The company is often blamed for increasing obesity in children.

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Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville