Thanks to the efforts of CCFC members, McDonald's has ended its controversial report card advertising in Seminole County, Florida. Children in kindergarten through fifth-grade had been receiving their report cards in envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald promising a free Happy Meal to students with good grades, behavior, or attendance. CCFC was alerted to the advertising by Seminole County parent Susan Pagan and launched a campaign, which resulted in nearly 2,000 letters to McDonald's and plenty of bad publicity for the fast food giant. The following is CCFC's statement on the McDonald's decision to end the program.
This is a good day for parents and children in Seminole County and anyone who believes that corporations should not prey on children in schools. We are pleased that McDonald's is listening to parents all over the country who believe that report cards should not be commercialized.
In the absence of needed government regulation to protect schoolchildren from predatory companies like McDonald's, the burden is on parents to be vigilant about exploitative marketing aimed at children. One parent can make a difference. There is no doubt that the Seminole County ads would have continued - and violated McDonald's pledge to stop advertising in elementary schools - had one parent not called attention to the problem. And when that parent was joined by other parents and CCFC members, one of our nation's largest corporations was forced to back down. What we accomplished in Seminole County should put all marketers on notice: advertising has no place in our nation's schools.
Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to write to McDonald's. Those of you who wish to acknowledge McDonald's decision to pull the branded report cards can email Kathleen Pyle, McDonald's director of family and kids marketing, at Kathleen.Pyle@us.mcd.com.
Working together, we can reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.