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McDonald's drops report card pitches


Dave Weber

Orlando Sentinel
January 18, 2008

Remember the flap last month over McDonald's using the covers of Seminole County elementary school report cards to pitch Happy Meals to kids?

The company defended the practice, saying it was simply giving rewards to students who got good grades by letting them know they could trade the grades for a free meal.

But in an about face, and after international attention, the mega-mealer has yanked the advertising.

Susan Pagan, a Winter Springs woman who complained to the Seminole County School Board about the practice, says Superintendent Bill Vogel has notified her it will end. Pagan objected to the district and McDonald's targeting kids for junk food advertising amid an epidemic of childhood obesity.

An e-mail from Vogel to Pagan says "McDonald's has decided to remove their offer from our report card covers."

The report card envelopes that raised all the ruckus featured a likeness of Ronald McDonald and told kids how they could qualify for a free Happy Meal based on good grades. Kids can still get the reward by showing up at McD's, but report cards won't be touting the deal.

Pagan said she has been besieged by national and international media - interviews included a Dublin, Ireland radio station - since the story broke early in December. Even a team from The Colbert Report, the sarcastic late night news parody, is due at her home this week, she said.

No word from school officials whether they are seeking a new report card sponsor, say the local health food store.


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