Work Hard At School, Get Free Happy Meal

Ad Age reports that McDonald’s has found another way to reach their best customers.

The Golden Arches picked up the $1,600 cost of printing report-card jackets for the 2007-2008 school year in Seminole County, Fla., in exchange for a Happy Meal coupon on the card’s cover. With 27,000 elementary school kids taking their report-card jackets home to be signed three or four times a year, that’s less than 2 cents per impression.
Children who earn all A’s and B’s, have two or fewer absences or exhibit good behavior are entitled to a free happy meal at a local McDonald’s — so long as they present their report card.

Designer, Debbie Millman, calls the move, “yet another reason why civilization is doomed.”
I’ll just add that this wouldn’t happen if we funded our schools properly. But since we have other priorities, schools are woefully underfunded and that opens them up to finding funding where they may.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. When I was a kid we had ‘Book It’ wherein Pizza Hut gave me a free personal pan pizza if I read ‘x’ number of books.
    I happily read some books and got some free pizzas. It worked and I can’t say I’m any worse off.
    I’ve got to say lighten up a bit. If McDonald’s helps schools cut cost and provides incentives for good grades it can’t be all bad. Can it? (I do think the schools could of held out for some more cash, but besides that…)
    On an unrelated note, I celebrate the completion of every book I read by eating a large Meat Lovers Pizza Hut brand pizza. I don’t know why I do this. It just feels right.

  2. I agree with Bear and actually had the same Pizza Hut program at my school.
    And it didn’t turn me into an obese QSR maven.
    In this climate, McDonald’s made a bad move by printing that on a report card, but is it really that bad? I don’t think so. Everything in the extreme is bad though in moderation it can be fine. McDonald’s included:

  3. Actually, Mickey D’s picked up this program by replacing Pizza Hut. In this age of childhood obesity and anti-advertising, it seems like Ronald McDonald is facing opposition that never surfaced when Pizza Hut was involved with the program. Plus, McDonald’s is just an easy target for advocacy groups. And deservedly so.

  4. In my grade, junior, and high school, Mickey got a D for a 77.