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Watchdog slams McDonald's book scheme

The Local · 31 Aug 2012, 16:49

Published: 31 Aug 2012 16:49 GMT+02:00

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The books are being given out instead of the more usual toys in cooperation with the Endowment for Reading (Stiftung Lesen). Industry watchdog Foodwatch slammed the idea.

"With this cooperation, the Endowment for Reading is helping McDonald's improve its image and sell more fast food to children," the group wrote in an open letter.

"The Endowment for Reading is supporting a company that has marketed high-calorie burgers, fries and soft drink to children," wrote Foodwatch, which accuses McDonald's of shaping the tastes and eating habits of kids, "so that they will remain lifelong customers."

The Endowment said the criticism came as no surprise.

"We knew this would be a controversial action," communications director Bettina Müller told Spiegel Online .

"But we are of the opinion that in light of the shockingly high levels of illiteracy, we need to think outside the box."

The Endowment for Reading has described the McDonald's partnership as a chance to reach children in families with low levels of education.

Some four million children's books are expected to be distributed as part of the promotion.

Story continues below…

The Local/sh

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:16 August 31, 2012 by wood artist
So, the options are to give the child a toy, usually a tie-in with something the child already knows about...such as a movie or TV series...or...give the child a book that they can read, or use to learn to read. Which one is more likely to bring the child and his/her parents into McDonalds in the first place.

I'm betting a bunch of kids would be more likely to show up if they knew they would get the latest Spiderman toy (as an example).

18:53 August 31, 2012 by IchBinKönig
'I'm betting a bunch of kids would be more likely to show up if they knew they would get the latest Spiderman toy (as an example).'

But wouldn't parents(the ones who take the kids to the McDonalds) be more likely to show up if they thought their kids might learn something, for example.

19:32 August 31, 2012 by Timberwolf
Some of these groups should get a grip to themselves. Mc Donalds doesn't have capture squads running around countries collecting either children or adults and forcing them into their restaurants to purchase their food and other products. People choose to go to them and eat their food of their own free will. If people choose to eat that type of food and even super size it on a daily bases or as a lifestyle choice and then THEY get fat, it is not Mc Donalds fault they can't resist that type of food or Mc Donalds clever advertising.

As for books to give to kids they are better than plastic toys. Probably less likely to be a cause of kids pester power on under pressure parents and anyway an odd meal in Mc Donalds will not kill the average healthy kid.

If you can't live with the truth grab a chair and get over yourself and no I don't work for either an advertising company or Mc Donalds, I just believe that we have the ability to make our own choices for us and a children and if you don't want you or your kids to go there, there is a word call NO!
21:03 August 31, 2012 by zeddriver

Of course you are correct. I say let parents make the choice. That's what their job is. Opps! I forgot. We're in Europe. The government is the parent. Never mind.
21:38 August 31, 2012 by IchBinKönig
What are these kids doing outside of the Government subsidized child care facilities in the first place? Someone better call the BND.

01:24 September 1, 2012 by Eric1
Sounds like a bunch of anti-capitalist bigots. This "consumer watchdog" wants to spread its views and limit freedom.
06:51 September 1, 2012 by wenddiver
I love Mcdonalds! When I was a kid my Uncle Jim who was a sergeant in the US Marine Corps used to let us ride in the trunk of his Chevy, Impala SS on the California Highway, hitting the brakes and screaming all the way. He looked like Steve McQueen, always said things like " Damned Joe hold this Beer while I pass this Policeman". When the Police would pull us over, he would point to us kids and go "Hey cut a guy a break, I'm looking for a McDonalds to feed those hungry Bandits". Then he would take all us kids to McDonalds for hamburgers, fries and malts. He would pull up in front of the McDonalds and pull us out of the trunk, upside down, one at a time, by our feet. When we were waiting for our meals he would pretend to bum cigarettes off us seven year olds. When he would pull into the driveway he would look at us kids and say "Hey Joe, don't tell your Moms or those boads will shoot me. Us kids loved him and McDonalds. We didn't need any toy, to enjoy the fun that was McDonalds. Our Government used to let us raise our own children and it was a better place to live.
06:56 September 1, 2012 by parografik
I don't know what anyone is complaining about. I found my copy of "Rememberence of Things Past" right next to my Mcnuggets, and I've never looked back.
10:03 September 1, 2012 by Thinkfirst
Nevermind about the toys, please tell me where I can find the happy smiling McDonald's workers in Germany!
10:29 September 1, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
I'm not a big McDonald's fan but, they donate a lot of money to sick children! How many big businesses can say that?
13:11 September 1, 2012 by Beachrider
Another situation where someone needs to be punished for being American.

Punish, punish, punish...
17:02 September 1, 2012 by realist1961
While it is understandable that Foodwatch wants to reduce unhealthy food choices for children where they are enticed with toys and books, this sort of interference on behalf of others, I feel, has other consequences. It also creates a false sense of security thinking that the Government or some group like Foodwatch is always there to protect people from bad choices. People get lazy and stop thinking for themselves. All too often we read about some idiot doing something stupid because they were not warned or told not to do it. We would be better off making people suffer from the consequences of their stupidity rather than protecting them from their own stupidity. Have we not learned enough from Charles Darwin?
17:19 September 1, 2012 by marimay
@ wenddiver - Nice story lol

@ Thinkfirst - Well, those ladies are clearly not german, so...

Kids will want Mcdonalds with or without a toy or a book, because it all depends on how they are fed at HOME! I very highly doubt parents feed their kids much better at home with all the quick processed junk available in the grocery stores in germany.
21:56 September 1, 2012 by Vargaz
As an observer it is apparent that McDonald, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, and many other "fast food" outlets in America are the biggest promoters of OBESITY in America with their gluten-laced flours, high-fructose corn syrup saturated everything, processed sugar loaded soft drinks, and/or salt-covered layers of fat, sugar, and salt. Not to mention the laziest people on Earth. All they seem to do is watch TV. The saddest thing is the young kinder (5-16) that weigh 50-100 kilos and even worse, the people responsible to protect them against such horrible fattening foods - the US Congress - are apparently all corrupt and owned by the corporate food industry. No wonder 70% of the America population are blubbery walrus-like characters. One would think they'd be smarter than that given they are the "smartest country on Earth". Jah.
22:51 September 1, 2012 by marimay
That is funny you complain about Americans so much, yet what I saw placed in German grocery carts was not any better. And Germans are super fat as well. People all over the world just choose to be ignorant about nutrition. Horrific. Jah.
05:36 September 2, 2012 by wenddiver
@Vargaz- I doubt if you know or have seen 70% of Americans, but if your anything other than an American your country took home fwer lympicmedals than the US, so what does that say about your home countries conditions. By the way your laziest people happen to be the most productive workers in the world according to the UN and every business journal in the world with a little have ever read. Don't believe me ask Daimler-Benz, or BMW who both have new factories in Albama, just down the road from where their building the new EADS/Air-bus factory. Is your capable of putting somebody on the moon? Exploring Mar? Building a SCRAM missile? Designing an I-Phone? Can your countries workers field and support an Army the size of the US Army in Germany, Korea, Iraq and Afganistan all at the same time? Do we need to mention the US Fleet? Who do you think built all those Air-Craft Carriers? It certainly wasn't a bunch of skinny efeminates that make up so much of the world. Last I looked the US was not even 220 years old and feeding a good percentage of the world all of whom had a could thousand year head start on them.

If you want to live on rutebegas, turnips and cold Oatmeal like a lot of the workrs of the world did prior to America go right ahead. Again Vargaz I don't know where your from, but neither Amricans or Germans are skinny, and we probably are pretty glad we aren't built like you. Man up and go ride a bull, toss some iron or just protect people who can't protect themselves, for that your going to need a little bulk. Mime.
12:00 September 2, 2012 by matchstickmann

10:57 September 4, 2012 by sally#
It doesn't matter whether the reading promotion campaign of McDonald is a true philanthropy or just a marketing scheme. As long as it helps the children to read more and learn more, it's a good one.
11:40 September 5, 2012 by raandy
The part of this story that encourages children to read is positive. Micky Ds is using this as bait to sell its sh^^ty food . Parents concerned about their child's well being and diet I am sure also encourage children to read and live a healthier life style than dinner at Macs, Super size me Palace.
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