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Parents’ beef with McDonald’s ends Happy Meal promo


Christine McConville

The Boston Herald
January 18, 2008

A Boston-based children’s advocacy group has scored another win, this time against fast-food behemoth McDonald’s.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and about 2,000 outraged parents persuaded McDonald’s to end a business deal with a school district in Florida.

In exchange for placing Ronald McDonald and the Golden Arches on folders that contained report cards for kids from kindergarten to fifth grade, the burger chain had promised free Happy Meals to pupils who had good grades, behavior and attendance records.

Yesterday, the corporation pulled out of the arrangement.

“It’s a great day for the children and families of Seminole County, Florida,” said Dr. Susan Linn, director of the campaign, which operates out of the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston.

The effort began this fall, when Seminole County students brought home report cards in the McDonald’s envelopes.

With childhood obesity at epidemic levels, one mother was furious that her child was being promised fast food as a reward. She was also angry that school performance had become commercialized. She and others turned to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which turned up the heat.

Linn said this is one of the campaign’s many successes.

Recently, the campaign pressured the toymaker Hasbro to stop production plans for dolls modeled after the all-women rock group Pussycat Dolls. The scantily clad singers are best known for songs that include these lyrics: “Doncha’ wish your girlfriend was hot like me,” and “Loosen up my buttons baby.”

Hasbro had planned to market the dolls to girls, ages 6 to 9, Linn said.

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