Tuesday, October 20, 2015

McDonald’s Turns Teachers Into Walking Billboards, Profits Off Children And Schools

mcteachers_flyerBrandon Turbeville
October 19, 2015

There are times when a corporation comes up with a marketing strategy that is so aggressive you just have to ask “why?”

Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what McDonald’s has done with its recent McTeacher’s Program, a clever act of marketing that involves enlisting schoolteachers as employees and walking billboards placed in school buildings.

McTeachers “employs” volunteer teachers during evening hours as a fundraising event. Students, parents, and other supporters are urged to patronize McDonald’s on the evenings their teacher is “working” so everyone can see their teachers serve up “hamburgers, shakes, and fries.”

McDonald’s USA claims that schools typically receive between 10 and 20 percent of proceeds toward their fundraiser. Some of it depends on the participating franchises.

This program, however, has drawn the ire of a number of parents, education, and teachers organizations as well as corporate and education watchdog groups. These groups agree that the program essentially turns teachers into walking billboards for McDonald’s and that it promotes an unhealthy diet and consumption of fast food.

Corporate Accountability International and Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood stated:

It is wrong to enlist teachers to sell kinds on a brand like McDonald’s whose core products are burgers, fries, and soda. Marketing junk food to children is a harmful practice. We are in the midst of the largest preventable health crisis in the U.S. – one that is spreading throughout the world, and that increasingly affects children. If this trend is not reversed, many children will be burdened with diet-related diseases like obesity and Type 2 diabetes, affecting their health for life. 
Health professionals on the front lines of treating these diseases have long urged you to stop targeting children. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend restrictions on junk food marketing to children. Study after study from esteemed organizations such as the Institute of Medicine and the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest that junk food marketing targeted at kids is a serious health concern. 
McTeachers Nights undermine these important efforts, exploiting educators’ authority and popularity to lure kids to McDonald’s. Transforming teachers into McDonald’s marketers is particularly egregious in light of a recent study in Clinical Pediatrics linking fast food consumption with lower educational outcomes.

McDonald’s has responded to the controversy in this way:

McTeacher’s Nights are all about community, fun and fundraising,. As parents and members of their communities. McDonald’s franchises and our corporate restaurants have long supported what matters most to them. McTeachers’s Nights are one example. 
Teachers and parent teacher organizations have a choice in how they seek to raise additional funds, and for years they have told McDonald’s and frachisees that, in addition to the extra financial support these events provide for their schools, they have a great time connecting with their students and neighbors.

McDonald’s actually makes a few reasonable points. No one is being forced and these teachers volunteer to take part in the program. However, as the teachers’ groups point out, no one will seriously argue that the program is anything but a stealth marketing campaign aimed at a captive audience of children and young people.

Of course, while McDonald’s attempts to present itself as maintaining a commitment to America’s youth and public schools – the truth is that it – like any other business – has a commitment to one and only one thing – profit.

A corporation who only recently stated that it was going to resume marketing to children and families now finds itself in the midst of an institution that is central to the lives of both.

If McDonald’s was truly committed to America’s schools it could have simply donated the money with no strings attached. If it wanted compensation for its efforts it could have marketed itself as a proud sponsor of the school.

Instead, McDonald’s went full Corporate America and has attempted to advertise, capitalize, and profit off of a marketing campaign aimed at children.

This article (McDonald’s Turns Teachers Into Walking Billboards, Profits Off Children And Schools) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under aCreative Commons license with attribution to Brandon Turbeville and Natural Blaze.com.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books,Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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