Coke and McDonald’s — Partners in Slime

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Research has shown that a solid one-third of American children and adolescents eat fast food on any given day. But that is not enough to satisfy McDonald’s, which continues to want more junk food addict customers, and to want them at an even younger age.

Consequently, Casey Hinds reports:

McDonald’s is the only member of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative that refuses to make a pledge not to advertise to children under 6 years old.

Eco-warrior Edward Abbey once said, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” Nothing can keep on growing forever, not even a mega corporation. McDonald’s and the Coca-Cola Company haven’t been growing as fast as before, a condition they perceive as going backwards.

To address this problem, they did what worked so well for cigarette manufacturers determined to hook soldiers on nicotine — they gave away free product. Hinds reminds us that Coke and Mickey D have aided and abetted each other for 60 years, and gives a recent example of their public relations mind-meld:

In a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have partnered on a Twitter campaign to give away free Cokes in Mexico after using social media to give away one million free Cokes in Brazil.

That’s what teamwork is all about! And just imagine the corporate joy when McDonald’s partnered up with American public schools. Spokesclown Ronald appeared on an allegedly exercise-promotion platform, but really for the same old reasons, to raise brand awareness and intensify brand loyalty.

Mothers showed up at the annual shareholder meeting to ask pointed questions, which company drones deftly handled by denying the existence of a school-touring Ronald. Meanwhile, the corporate website glorified Ronald the school assembly star, and Coke’s infomercial stated, “There’s nothing wrong with fast food. There’s nothing wrong with McDonald’s.”

Indentured servitude?

We haven’t even reached the most bizarre part yet. McDonald’s invented a program called “McTeacher’s Nights” during which teachers and principals would work FOR FREE at the takeout window or the fryer or whatever. Presumably, the theory was that kids would pester their caregivers to bring them, for the cheap thrill of seeing an authority figure wear an apron and a hairnet.

The school would get a “portion” of the sales, which sounds pretty dicey. The whole concept is a fail on more levels than could possibly be discussed here. Hinds says:

The National Education Association (NEA) and chapters of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have just announced that they are calling on McDonald’s to end McTeacher’s Nights. Together, these unions represent more than 3 million teachers, principals, school nurses and education policy experts nationwide.

The first question that comes to mind is, why “call on” McDonald’s” to do anything? Can’t the teachers put an end to it by simply not participating? The second question is, why is this disturbing (on so many levels) practice still in effect?

When educators and doctors get caught up in schemes proposed by unethical companies, the public feels betrayed. After some sharp criticism, the American Academy of Pediatrics broke its financial ties with Coke. When The New York Times outed Coke for funding biased research, they shamed the corporation into pulling back — a gratifyingly retro sort of outcome that rarely happens anymore.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How McTeacher’s Nights and Coke Science Betray Us,” BeyondChron.org, 10/14/15
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