If It Worked for Oprah

Sep 17, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Bob Greene has made a career out of helping Oprah Winfrey lose weight. Now he’s going to work for McDonald’s to help America slim down and deflect some of the negative attention
paid to the chain’s less healthy menu options.

Mr. Greene has been hired by the fast food giant to promote its Go Active Meal, which includes a salad, bottle of water or medium fountain drink, a clip-on pedometer and a 10-page
booklet with exercise tips from Oprah’s very own personal trainer.

Pam Murtaugh, a management consultant told the New York Times she was impressed with McDonald’s latest move. She said it shows “a commitment to participate in and promote healthy
lifestyles. But it’s also not focusing on the foods, which is excellent. It’s a really counter-couch-potato and counter-drive-through message, which can be very useful to them.”

Others are less sanguine. Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, “If he has any independence and integrity as he talks about
the few nutritious McDonald’s foods, he would also warn consumers about McDonald’s dietary catastrophes.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on McDonald’s hiring Bob Greene as a spokesperson for its Go Active Meal?

We’re with Pam Murtaugh. Mr. Greene’s participation emphasizes a holistic approach to health, which includes exercise and good dietary habits. Mr. Jacobson
could do with a chill pill. Most consumers do not expect or want McDonald’s to be a healthy food store. Mr. Greene hasn’t been hired to tell consumers what they already know.

Anderson – Moderator

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