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McDonald's Stoops to New Low With Report Card Advertising

mcdonalds_report_card.jpg

Hey kids! Guess what? If you study hard and get good grades, guess what you'll get? No, not a college scholarship, sillys. That would be too boring. No, if you get good grades on your report card, you'll get a Happy Meal coupon on the card that you can use to get fat...uh...have a free lunch.

Yea, people, you read that right. In-school advertising's idiocy has spread to report cards. Yes, report cards. For covering the paltry $1,600 printing cost of Seminole County Florida's 2007-2008 report cards, McDonald's was able to place the coupon on the report cards of kids who received all A's and B's. Yes, you also read that right. Only smart kids are allowed to get fat.

It's not the first time a marketer has done something like this and it won't be the last. Our view? Let kids live at least a tiny part of their lives unfettered by the not so morally forthright influence of marketers who, while they say they're all about education and health, really just care about whether or not you slap down some cash on the counter.

With girls dressing like thong-clad porn stars by age 12 and boys emulating "we cool 'cause we got gold teeth, drink Crystal and fuck hoes all day" rappers, we should really do all we can to shelter kids from the idiocy we have to deal with as adults. Yes, yes, yes, we have to prepare children for the real world and a Happy Meal now and then isn't going to turn a kid into an overweight serial killer but really. Ads on reports cards? That's just crossing some kind of line that shouldn't be crossed. Call us high and mighty but there are some things in this world that should never ever be commercialized. School report cards are one of them.

If parents want to reward their kids for getting good grades, they are intelligent enough to determine what kind of reward, if any, is appropriate. They don't need any help from a marketer that just wants a wider audience to further fatten its bottom line.

by Steve Hall    Comments (21)     File: Brands, Opinion, Specialty, Worst     Dec- 6-07     

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Comments

I totally agree with your view on this subject.
Susan Pagan (the woman in Orlando that brought this to light), should be applauded. Her school
district made her feel like she was an odd-ball because she was "the only one who ever complained". Children have enough negative advertisement and media to deal with everytime they put the t.v. on. Let school not be the place for further exploitation.

Posted by: sharon inzirillo on December 6, 2007 10:25 AM

I totally agree with your view on this subject.
Susan Pagan (the woman in Orlando that brought this to light), should be applauded. Her school
district made her feel like she was an odd-ball because she was "the only one who ever complained". Children have enough negative advertisement and media to deal with everytime they put the t.v. on. Let school not be the place for further exploitation.

Posted by: sharon inzirillo on December 6, 2007 10:25 AM

I totally agree with your view on this subject.
Susan Pagan (the woman in Orlando that brought this to light), should be applauded. Her school
district made her feel like she was an odd-ball because she was "the only one who ever complained". Children have enough negative advertisement and media to deal with everytime they put the t.v. on. Let school not be the place for further exploitation.

Posted by: sharon inzirillo on December 6, 2007 10:25 AM

I totally agree with your view on this subject.
Susan Pagan (the woman in Orlando that brought this to light), should be applauded. Her school
district made her feel like she was an odd-ball because she was "the only one who ever complained". Children have enough negative advertisement and media to deal with everytime they put the t.v. on. Let school not be the place for further exploitation.

Posted by: sharon inzirillo on December 6, 2007 10:25 AM

When over 30% of the US population is considered obese, you would think schools of all places would think that maybe burgers and fries shouldn't be promoted to children. Who ever signed the contract with McDonalds at this school should realize that they are contributing to the future unhealthy choices by those kids and in the end the diabetes, strokes and Coronary heart disease they will have to deal with as adults.

If the schools don't teach good nutritional choices who will.

Posted by: Craig on December 6, 2007 11:14 AM

When over 30% of the US population is considered obese, you would think schools of all places would think that maybe burgers and fries shouldn't be promoted to children. Who ever signed the contract with McDonalds at this school should realize that they are contributing to the future unhealthy choices by those kids and in the end the diabetes, strokes and Coronary heart disease they will have to deal with as adults.

If the schools don't teach good nutritional choices who will.

Posted by: Craig on December 6, 2007 11:15 AM

Our local school district hands out coupons for free meals at Subway to kids with all "A"s. My daughter liked the idea of getting the free sandwich better than going to Subway and eating. It was like winning a contest for her.

Anyway, I've noticed that schools these days have soda machines, give out candy regularly for rewards and offer some pretty iffy items in the cafeteria. A McDonalds happy meal is pretty minor in the grand scheme of readily available sugar, salt and fat.

Posted by: dhanson on December 6, 2007 11:27 AM

Steve,

When was the last time you made a homemade patty?

Maybe emeril should give out coupons to all the cookbooks from the food channel. Wouldn't help. Nobody cooks anymore. Not even me, and I have lots of recipes in my head. If only there was someone who appreciated that, paid for those services, and you could earn a retirement income from such.

What a joke. Salad at Wendy's for me tonight.

Posted by: nancy on December 6, 2007 11:54 AM

I cook every night. There are still some of us left.

Posted by: Steve Hall on December 6, 2007 12:39 PM

YOu have a family of school aged kids?

Cooking every night makes a parent of schoolaged kids worn out. For the children is okay, but kids need to prove themselves, too, for the parents. I am proud of the fact that my three kids actually can cook. But pride doesn't pay the bills. It may get me a couple cookies tonight, though. That's life.

Posted by: nancy on December 6, 2007 12:52 PM

Over 20 years ago, Pizza Hut participated in a program that gave coupons to kids who read a certain number of books. How is this any different? I don't recall anyone raising a concern then. I don't think the current epidemic of obesity in children has anything to do with marketing unhealthy foods to children. A child's health is in their parents hands and clearly these days too many parents aren't paying attention to it.

Posted by: Rebekah on December 6, 2007 01:17 PM

It's different now because we are supposed to be smarter today than we were 20 years ago.

No one raised a concern about Pizzahut 20 years ago or any of the fast food places because society as a whole was still ignorant to the fact that these foods were not healthy for us.

There have been hundreds of studies in the last 20 years that show that the majority of burgers, fries and fat laden pizza sold in these places is bad for you in the long run. Just look at the diabetes and obesity stats. 20 years ago, 10 year old kids didn't have diabetes like they do today and were simply not as fat and in-active.

Posted by: Craig on December 6, 2007 02:40 PM

I don't understand everyone’s need to always pick on McDonald's. We never had a problem to this extent with obesity 10-20 years ago and we ate McDonalds. And they targeted us to no discretion with their ads.

What is wrong with rewarding kids for good grades with something they actual like (and can be a treat) to encourage them to do better. Try offering your kid a carrot stick to do better in school and measure the results. Seems we are more comfortable with a 90lb Miss America who can't spell or speak as the better alternative. It should really be up to the parents to control obesity - stuff you feed your kids at home are probably much, much worse. I think this was a pretty smart tactic!

Posted by: jeremyengle on December 6, 2007 03:45 PM

Super Size Nation

Spurlock, The guy who did the Super Size Me experiment was age 32 at the time the movie was filmed in 2003, ate a varied diet but always ate vegan evening meals to appease his then-girlfriend, was healthy and slim, and stood 6 feet 2 inches tall with a body weight of 185.5 lbs.

After thirty days, he gained 24.5 lb (11.1 kg), a 13% body mass increase, and his Body Mass Index rose from 23.2 to 27. He also experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and liver damage. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight he gained.

Posted by: Craig on December 6, 2007 08:24 PM

I think headline should say "School stoops to new low..."

What else would you expect from McDonald's? They'd advertise on your dead grandma's ass if they thought it would push more Big Macs.

Posted by: pat smith on December 6, 2007 08:33 PM

Good point, Pat.

Posted by: Steve Hall on December 7, 2007 09:17 AM

Schools stoop to these sorts of arrangements in order to make ends meet. $1,600 for printing report cards is not a "paltry" amount to a school system. Heck, many school systems have resorted to simply running the report cards off on the office printer and handing them out. Though, eventually, I can see ads popping-up there, too, to cover the cost of toner and paper.

I've yet to meet a school official who actually enjoys whoring-out to corporations in order to cover costs. But it's a fact-of-life when, no matter how deeply you cut the budget and programs, there's always another group of tax-cutters yelling at you to slice even deeper.

Posted by: Jim C on December 8, 2007 11:43 AM

My kids ate Mcdonalds and pizza, chips, candy and not one of them were over weight . Now in their 30's and 40's they still arent. My daughter with 5 kids wears a 6 my sons both in late 30's wear 28 pants. Maybe you should stop blaming Mcdonalds and look to the people that are letting the kids sit on computers and video games like yourselves. My kids didnt have these and they actually went out to play everyday!!!!!!! Kids should be able to eat these things,they should be active and burn it off to. Leave Mcdonalds alone and go get your kids off their butt and send them out to play. Stop blamimg others and take responsibility for your own kids!!!!!!

Posted by: barb on December 15, 2007 12:41 AM

My kids ate Mcdonalds and pizza, chips, candy and not one of them were over weight . Now in their 30's and 40's they still arent. My daughter with 5 kids wears a 6 my sons both in late 30's wear 28 pants. Maybe you should stop blaming Mcdonalds and look to the people that are letting the kids sit on computers and video games like yourselves. My kids didnt have these and they actually went out to play everyday!!!!!!! Kids should be able to eat these things,they should be active and burn it off to. Leave Mcdonalds alone and go get your kids off their butt and send them out to play. Stop blamimg others and take responsibility for your own kids!!!!!!

Posted by: barb on December 15, 2007 12:42 AM

My kids ate Mcdonalds and pizza, chips, candy and not one of them were over weight . Now in their 30's and 40's they still arent. My daughter with 5 kids wears a 6 my sons both in late 30's wear 28 pants. Maybe you should stop blaming Mcdonalds and look to the people that are letting the kids sit on computers and video games like yourselves. My kids didnt have these and they actually went out to play everyday!!!!!!! Kids should be able to eat these things,they should be active and burn it off to. Leave Mcdonalds alone and go get your kids off their butt and send them out to play. Stop blamimg others and take responsibility for your own kids!!!!!!

Posted by: barb on December 15, 2007 12:42 AM

I thought McDonald's PR flak would know better than to triple post.

Posted by: pat smith on December 16, 2007 02:31 AM

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