Utah School District Discards Lunches, Considers $50K PR Spend


All politics is local—and so is PR.

After the Salt Lake City school district got bad press for throwing dozens of kids’ lunches away when parents fell behind on payments, district leaders “quietly” decided to consider hiring a firm to help them improve their damaged reputation.

By “quietly” we mean that the official proposal amounted to $49,999, which is one dollar short of the total that would require the district to announce it.

This move does follow some damage control steps, including a decision to stop giving kids fruit and milk in place of proper meals and to stop talking to them about their parents debts(!)—but many parents remain pissed.

At least the district has good taste in agencies: they went with Vox Creative, an offshoot of the media company responsible for SBNation, Verge, Eater and other blogs that we read.

This, however, is one of the extremely rare cases in which comment threads prove useful: the reading public’s overwhelming response to the school district’s decision is “HELL NO!”

The district also plans an independent investigation of the doomed lunches, so we wish them the best on that. But news of the damage control effort itself probably did more damage than any clean-up could handle.

Also, for no real reason: Salt Lake City is quite lovely, isn’t it?

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.