Date of Release:
December 5, 2007
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)
CCFC Blasts McDonald’s Report Card Advertising
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is demanding that McDonald’s immediately stop advertising on children’s report cards. Last week, students in Seminole County, Florida received their report cards in envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald promising a free Happy Meal to students with good grades, behavior, or attendance.
“This promotion takes in-school marketing to a new low,” said Susan Linn, director of CCFC and a psychologist at Judge Baker Children’s Center. “It bypasses parents and targets children directly with the message that doing well in school should be rewarded by a Happy Meal.”
The advertisement appears on report cards envelopes for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The envelopes are used to transport report cards to and from home throughout the school year.
“My daughter worked so hard to get good grades this term and now she believes she is entitled to a prize from McDonald’s,” said Susan Pagan, an Orlando parent. “And now I’m the “bad guy” because I had to explain that our family does not eat at fast food chains. I’m outraged that McDonald’s is trying to exploit my daughter’s achievement – and that the Seminole County School Board would help facilitate this exploitation.”
While McDonald’s has pledged to only advertise its healthier options to children under twelve, the Happy Meal promotion explicitly mentions cheeseburgers, French fries, and soft drinks as options. Happy Meals featured on the report card can contain as many 710 calories, 28 grams of fat, or 35 grams of sugar. McDonald’s has also pledged to stop advertising all food or beverage products in elementary schools.
Added Dr. Linn, “Turning report cards into ads for McDonald’s undermines parents efforts to encourage healthy eating.”