McDonald's: We Don't Own Your Children... Yet

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Corporate marketing departments are essentially chock-a-block with evil geniuses. They put most government propaganda machines to shame and could make a blind man buy contact lenses. Few folks have the audacity to put their company in every spotlight available (and making some up so they can be in those, too) like McDonalds. Check out their latest campaign.

The K through 5 students of Seminole County, Florida (and I had been doing so well not reporting on Florida for awhile) recently got their report cards in the mail. This is usually not a fun time for a lot of students, but any negative consequences were probably mitigated by the fact that the envelopes in which their report cards came (see above) contained a coupon for free McDonald's food if the students did or behaved well or had good attendance. This is the same McDonald's that promised to only advertise the "restaurant's" healthy options to kids under 12 AND to stop all advertising of food and beverage products in elementary schools. You know, I could be angry about this-- the aggressive consumerization of childhood and the conversion of children into ad-addled drones is ridiculous. But frankly, people, the time has come to recognize just how important attendance is. I applaud McDonald's for recognizing husky little Harry's and pudgy, pigtailed Paula's difficult struggle to let their parents drive them to school every school day of the year-- a task made no easier by the fact that, due to their high-in-saturated-fats diet, they now tip the scales somewhere in the vicinity of "medium-sized livestock". Bravo, golden arches, you keepers of our academic flame. I think that next Sony needs to give out coupons for 20 bucks off the 400 dollar PS3 for students who don't smoke crack during school hours. Marlboro could hand out cartons for students who show improvement in PE. The possibilities are endless. Yay capitalism! Viva marketing!


Posted by Darrin on 2007-12-10 08:48:05
Interesting. Other companies have been doing this for years and nobody says a thing. But when McDonalds does it, it's evil capitalism and a sign of the apocolypse.
Posted by ueberbill on 2007-12-10 08:58:59
Firstly, I have never heard of such a thing before- so point me a link and I'll be happy to note it in the story. McDonald's has, as mentioned in the story, promised NOT to advertise to children at school and when it does advertise to children under 12, to only advertise McD's healthy options. A happy meal can contain over 700 calories and dozens of grams of saturated fat. So put down the Big Mac and at least try to gin up some outrage at public schools allowing this kind of corporate influence in student's lives.
Posted by Darrin on 2007-12-10 13:29:06
Just off the top of my head: .

This has been going on since the eighties as far as I can remember.

The way I see it is like this. Our nation's literacy rate has been dropping for years. Obviously our current government isn't doing much to change that, unless you count the No Child Left Behind bill. Now, if getting a free happy meal after every report card is enough motivation to get kids to raise their grades, I have no real problem with that. Report cards come out what, four times a school year? So, pending good enough grades, that's four happy meals in a nine month period, roughly. Sorry, but that just isn't going to destroy a child's health.

Now, I'm not so naive as to think that McDonalds is doing this out of sheer selfless motivation. I understand that to them it's a great PR campaign, as well as a potential cash cow.

This is where the parents have to do their jobs, and ensure that their children, other than eating a happy meal every few months, are getting well rounded and healthy meals at home, as well as getting enough exercise, something that never used to be a problem with children, but unfortunately with the advent of the internet, tv, and video games, it has become an issue.

And if the parents don't want their kids to eat at McDonalds, then they simply don't have to use the coupon. Just because the kid got the coupon doesn't mean that the parents are then obligated to use it. If the kid gets mad, so be it, that's life. It isn't a parents job to give their kids everything they want or think they deserve.

As far as corporate influence in student's lives goes, I suppose the next move will be to ban any name brand clothes from being worn at school. No more over priced Adidas, Nike, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfigger, or any other corporate logos allowed on clothing in which to influnce our children with.
Posted by bamse on 2007-12-12 12:18:56
Some schools do ban clothes with brands like nike, adidas etc and they swap it with something called a uniform. Sometimes this is done so that kids dont compete over who has the fanciest branded clothes and not just in private schools.
Posted by Darrin on 2007-12-13 13:26:45
[quote]Some schools do ban clothes with brands like nike, adidas etc and they swap it with something called a uniform. Sometimes this is done so that kids dont compete over who has the fanciest branded clothes and not just in private schools.[/quote]

Not a bad thing to do, as far as I'm concerned. But until every corporate advertisement or logo is protested and/or removed from schools, parents or special interest groups have no right to point fingers and make accusations at just one of the culprits responsible.
Posted by Obsidianwords on 2007-12-15 11:07:05
This is not from McDonalds US Corporate.
McDonalds does participate in several marketing events involving children (Ronald McDonalds House Charities is just one of many) The flyer would have to pass through corporate communications/creative services and media departments if it were a Mcdonalds corporate sourced incentive.
This is clearly the counties school board use of McDonalds Logo and incentives to positively reinforce good grades or a McDonalds franchisee attempt to get involved in the community.


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