“She came home bubbly and happy about her report card. On the cover was a McDonald’s ad. I was blown away.” So says a Florida mom whose 9-year-old daughter earned high grades, and a Happy Meal, as part of a joint venture between McD’s and Seminole County. (See a sample report card here.) Kids could also score rewards for attendance and “citizenship” as part of the fast-food chain’s deep-fried take on No Child Left Behind. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is up in arms, but they recoil at the first whiff of a Quarter Pounder, so no surprise there. Do we want to incentivize kids with the promise of fast food? More important, if we do so, will there be any McNuggets left for the rest of us? If I seem ambivalent on the issue, maybe it’s because I didn’t study hard enough in school. “Citizenship” was my best subject. I guess we have to ask ourselves what kinds of values we’ll have in a world where advertising is literally everywhere. Which reminds me. Hey, McDonald’s, can I have my money now?
—Posted by David Gianatasio