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McDonald's 'Super Size' strategy

By CNN's Jim Boulden

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Spurlock's film is one of the highest-grossing documentaries ever.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The documentary "Super Size Me" is opening in the United Kingdom. But McDonald's isn't fighting back the way you might expect.

The creator of "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock, asks: Why are Americans so fat?

His film uses humor to eat through America's fast-food habit by focusing on McDonald's.

But Europeans are hooked on going "super-sized" as well.

"McDonald's are a big organization trying to make money. And they found a recipe that, until now, has been very effective, but people are kind of waking up to the fact that is might not be very good for them," says Dr. Fred Wadsworth of Pure Nutrition

Ahead of Friday's UK release, McDonald's fought back -- on the Web and in newspapers -- promoting its salads and organic milk sales.

To the delight of the film's UK distributor, McDonald's also says it agrees with the film's major point: No one should eat only McDonald's.

"I just want to thank McDonald's for helping us along in our campaign for a film which raises some really quite serious issues, but also in a very witty and funny way," says Laura Decasto of Tartan Films.

The UK is one of McDonald's biggest markets. McDonald's also holds the record for the longest English legal battle.

It sued two London-based activists in 1990 for libel and won the so-called "McLibel Trial" in 1997.

However, an appeal is still pending, and critics say the trial was a public relations disaster that exposed an unhealthy side to McDonald's food.

Now a 98-minute film shows its star, Morgan Spurlock, eating nothing but McDonald's for a month -- and gaining a lot of weight.

Would London eaters follow?

"Not every day but at least once a week or something. It would not be possible for months," said one man.

"I think I would die, honestly - serious. I wouldn't do it at all," said another.

So what about the film?

"The only snag is that after you've watched it, it's a good film, it makes you actually want to go to McDonald's. I think it's an advertising ploy to be honest," said one woman.

McDonald's ad line is "I'm lovin' it." That could be said for the filmmakers as well.

That's because "Super Size Me" has already raked in some $11 million -- making it one of the highest-grossing documentaries ever.


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