McDonald's hits back at film's 'gross misrepresentation'

OAK BROOK, IL - McDonald's has mounted an 'aggressive' PR response to Morgan Spurlock's documentary 'Super Size Me', which hits theatres this Friday.

"We're responding aggressively because the film is a gross misrepresentation of what McDonald's is all about," Walt Riker, McDonald's VP of corporate communications, said.

He added: "The scam in the movie is that he has given the impression that he only ate three basic meals a day, but the reality is that he stuffed himself with 5,000 to 7,000 calories, which is two or three times the recommended amount."

Spurlock has said that he got the idea for the documentary, which features him eating three meals at McDonald's restaurants, while watching a spokesperson from McDonald's refute a claim that the restaurant's food made two girls obese. The documentary will open in 35 theatres in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major markets.

McDonald's has been engaging the media in interviews and the company has made its global nutritionist Cathy Kapica available. She will appear on CNN and CNBC today and in the AP, he said. McDonald's will also be releasing a VNR and ANR today. Kapica has been quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Times, where she told staff writer Martin Miller that the movie was "about extreme behavior, and it's a lost opportunity in terms of encouraging smart choices in diet and exercise."

"We're excited to contrast between someone who has spent her life in science and in health, versus a comedian that made a gross-out movie," Riker said.

While the company has no in-store or locally focused PR plans to respond to the movie, Riker said that the McDonald's network of about 2,700 independent franchisees are empowered and can talk to the local media.

Additionally, he said that the American Council on Science and Health are putting out an aggressive independent third-party response. ACSH director of nutrition Ruth Kava wrote an editorial for Tech Central Station that likened Spurlock's approach to that of Robert DeNiro bulking up for 'Raging Bull'.

Business is as usual for McDonald's, Riker said, pointing out that the corporation has 2.3m more daily customers in its restaurants than one year ago.

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