July 31, 2014
At a 2014 shareholder meeting, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said “In Schools and our restaurants you never see Ronald McDonald.” However, Ronald McDonald does frequently appear in schools around the world. The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood drafted a letter to Mr. Thompson, asking him to stand by his words and ensure McDonald’s stops marketing to children in schools using the company mascot.
“The public statement by Mr. Thompson, McDonald’s CEO, appears to indicate that he recognizes that schools are not an appropriate forum for promoting the McDonald’s brand,” said Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “However, he must be unaware that Ronald McDonald regularly visits schools and that local franchises actively promote these visits. For example, a web page entitled ‘School Shows with Ronald McDonald’ for the Houston area states that ‘Ronald McDonald would love to visit your students and perform an educational school show.’ We urge Mr. Thompson to stand by his words and end this common McDonald’s marketing practice that takes advantage of a captive audience of young children.”