An English-language worksheet featuring Ronald McDonald extolling the virtues of fast food is being used in some Swedish schools, to the chagrin of educators, outraging some parents, and apparently unbeknownst to the company.
The newspaper Svenska Dagsbladet has reported that several schools have been using the worksheets as homework assignments. There is a brief history of McDonald’s in Britain, and then some follow-up questions. It addresses health concerns by suggesting students can take a side order of carrots instead of French fries with their BigMac.
One parent, Per Hakansson, came across the worksheet as he was going through his son’s homework. He was angered by the not-so-subtle message given to students as part of a school assignment. Hakansson holds a Ph.D. in consumer behavior from the Stockholm School of Economics.
“It’s a textbook example of how you change children’s knowledge, feelings, behavior,” he said.
For its part, McDonald’s of Sweden says it knew nothing of the use of the worksheet.
“I had no idea about this,” said Claes Eliasson, a company spokesman.
Apparently, an academic publisher, Beta Pedagogik, printed and distributed the worksheets without McDonald’s knowledge.
Bo Klaesson, an editor with Beta Pedgogik, confirmed that McDonald’s did not know of the worksheet, and said it was a mistake.
“It was thoughtless and a mistake to include the text,” Claesson said.