03/06/2012 11:47 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

McDonald's Happy Meal Ads Get Health-Focused Revamp

McDonald's has long been criticized for luring kids through the Golden Arches, towards a lifetime of unhealthy eating, using toys and clowns. But, as AdAge first reported, the world's biggest restaurant chain will soon take a new tack in its advertising for kids -- one focused on the healthy side of its Happy Meals.

If you haven't been to a McDonald's recently, you might be surprised to learn that Happy Meals even have a "healthy side." But when critics, most notably Michelle Obama, started to ramp up their attacks, the fast food chain responded by downsizing and upfruiting its kids' meals.

The new ads will feature a boy, Ferris, who learns to eat healthy food (like apple slices), presumably with the help of his local McDonald's. The commercials make their world debut this Friday.

The Chicago Tribune's Emily Bryson York has a great story on the new ads, in which she talks to several health advocates who applaud the new emphasis on health. Some detractors, though, have harsh words for what they see as McDonald's exploitation of impressionable children; they say that parents, not food companies, should teach children how to eat healthily.

Here's the ad: