Saturday, December 8, 2007

Long Live McDonald's and Free Speech!

The beauty of living in the USA is free speech. If you don’t like what you hear, turn it off. If you don’t like what you see turn your head. If you don’t like what you read, close the book. Although, this is not always easy and even more difficult if you are married to that book. Unfortunately, in the USA we seem to have way too much time on our hands and pick way too many battles (I know I’ll get lots of comments about this one. Can’t wait!) and the latest one is against McDonald's again! Poor Mickey D’s…Chuckle, chuckle!

Now, I don’t eat the stuff because it makes my stomach hurt (unless it’s a salad or the occasional fries and I suffer through the stomachache) but, I know kids love it, as did I when I was a kid. So, Mickey D’s did a smart marketing move. Yes, they say they have a long-standing and rich heritage of supporting education and academic excellence… blah, blah, blah…it was marketing pure and simple. I’m a business woman and I’m not mad at them. The bottom-line is dollars and cents. All companies have community based programs and McDonald's is no different. Sure, they may care about the community but the bottom-line is they care also about shareholder value. To that end, they created a campaign with the Florida County School District where students received envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald and received coupons for a free happy meal if they got good grades or attendance. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is demanding that McDonald's immediately stop the program! They said it’s advertising to the children and "This promotion takes in-school marketing to a new low," said Susan Linn, director of CCFC. "It bypasses parents and targets children directly with the message that doing well in school should be rewarded by a Happy Meal."

I mean come on people, who is the CCFC trying to fool…they know they take their kids to McDonald’s! It’s only a free Happy Meal. I personally try to stay away from the stuff but, when I have my niece or nephew screaming bloody murder in the back seat of my car and the only thing that will shut them up are those golden yellow arches…excuse me, a free happy meal coupon would come in handy! Maybe they are a little upset because their children don’t qualify for the good grades? I don’t get it…it’s a choice. You see McDonald’s on TV everyday, so it’s not like the kids don’t already know what McDonald’s is. It’s not like parents don’t frequent McDonald’s. If you don’t want to take them there then don’t. I think it’s a great incentive for kids to do good in school…it’s the little stuff, especially in a time when kids don’t get many incentives anymore. Maybe they haven’t seen how much of the budgets are cut or maybe they don’t even care or maybe that’s not the point, I’m pretty sure that’s not the point for them but for me I still don’t get it. I remember the incentives we used to get, paddles on the behind and hand if we didn’t shut up, corporal punishment was still in at my elementary school when I was a kid! Not joking, I’m from Cleveland! The occasional pizza parties, trips, ice cream and so on. Heck, I’m jealous they get McDonald's Happy Meals! I would support Baby I getting a Mickey D coupon although her Happy Meal would probably include a fruit salad or veggie burger or some healthier choice but hey she needs to dream of something why take her hopes away?


The Elliott Family said...

I would like the CCFC to step off MY toes as a parent, and let me do the parenting. The kids don't drive themselves to Mickey D's(the under 16 age anyway)! And have they walked down the cereal isle, lately? Or stood in line at the grocery store? I bet these people are busy.

How about they take the time and money spent on this ridiculous argument and feed a homeless person and show THAT to the kids.


P.S. Who is going to go to school and study to earn a veggie plate?

Anna said...

Isnt the real question- why does food need to become a reward through corporal sponsorship in one of the richest countries in the world? And why- in this country- are schools in such a dire financial situation that they would even want a fast food chain sponsoring their school? Why isnt the very basic fundamentals of learning important enough to our governemnent to spend the money on truly quality education. There are countries in our world that spend the money on education, healthcare, housing etc. Its just that we have a governement right now that would rather not learn from others. We will borrow money from Saudi Arabia and China up to our noses for an occupation of another country, but somehow the money for education and healthcare is no where to be seen.

Tami said...

Anna- I hear you. I often ask that question but the only answer I can come up with is boys and their toys. Sad and very scary huh? War over education...go figure.