Report Card Advertising

Dear McDonalds:

So you’re advertising on report cards now, eh? May I remind you that we live in a one-to-one, personalized marketing world now? It’s not enough for you to just offer free happy meals on kids’ report cards. Instead, you need to customize and personalize your offers. May I suggest:

“We’re sorry that you haven’t done real good in English. Come in to McDonelds for a free order of frys anyway.”

“Only a C in Math? No problem, come to McDonalds and buy one Quarter Pounder and get the next one for double the price.”

“At McDonalds, we don’t put chemicals and preservatives in our food. Not that you would know the difference considering you failed Science.”

“Only a B in Gym? Get into shape with our Asian Salad With Grilled Chicken.”

I’m sure you can come up with some more. Good luck.


Ron Shevlin

p.s. I almost forgot, I have one more suggestion for you. STOP DOING THIS.


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8 thoughts on “Report Card Advertising

  1. Ron, I wasn’t clear on what the schools get out of this “partnership”. Do you know if they get $. It would be interesting to find out.

    Oh, by the way – the letters perfect. I hope you sent it.

  2. This is a great post. I’m no fan of McDonald’s, but this and other efforts by brands to get their products in the minds and in bellies, on backs, feet, and in backpacks is nothing new – although particularly hackneyed in this case. I’d even say it’s a little big-brand-o-phobic.

    It used to be local companies – I’m reminded of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors (really!) sponsoring our book covers throughout my middle school and high school days – and now it’s major brands. Would the Burger Barn on Rte. 12 offering a free milk shake for every “A” be any different. I’d venture to say it would be more palatable. But it’s the same tactic.

    Given that the local McDonald’s franchisees were probably given marketing dollars to use discretionarily, it’s an interesting mix of the two. I’d be surprised if the MBA’s in Oak Brook, IL had much to do with this as a particular tactic beyond urging franchisees to participate in school activities as much as they could. Pizza Hut was the previous printer for several years, McDonald’s merely picked up the sponsorship.

    This is, of course, a vacuum argument. It’s naive to launch a defense of McDonald’s based on the argument that “it’s been done before and will continue to be done.” McDonald’s should know that it has a flawed brand, viewed as gluttonous at best and hazardous at worst and better educate their franchisees on brand positioning.

    Probably the most disturbing aspect is how The Seminole County schools simply handed over advertising rights on the envelopes in exchange for printing (about $1600). Based on population, that’s roughly $0.02 per impression. They could’ve demanded a higher sponsorship price – it is category exclusivity in a prime demographic after all.

  3. @Doug. Bingo. If I were a resident of Seminole County, I’d be a lot more ticked off at the school board than at McD’s.

    p.s. I don’t want to open a can of worms here, but while $0.02 per impression may be an accurate calculation, I would argue that McD gained no INCREMENTAL awareness from this investment. The best measure here is coupon conversion on the elementary school kids who would not have already gone into McD’s and purchased a Happy Meal.

  4. Ron,

    How about:

    “So what if you got a D in Speech. Buck up little cowboy, today is your lucky day. We have a job for you as Head Mumbler in our drive thru”.

    “Congrats! You got an A in Music. Too bad that won’t do you any good in the cold cruel world, but maybe this Big Mac for $2.99 will.”

    “Sally, I’m not so sure I’d be lettin’ your mamma know that you got an A in Sex Ed. I don’t think her little heart could take the news. But it could take a nice, juicy Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Hearts are funny that way.”

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