Strike a Light

This Is Not the Way to Burn Calories

Step-It Activity TrackersOops. McDonald’s has been giving out free activity trackers to encourage kids to burn calories. In return, the company received more attention for burned skin than burned calories. McDonald’s swiftly removed the trackers from its Happy Meals when photos of burned wrists started going viral on the internet tubes.

We’re going to miss those adorable Step-It activity trackers.

Clearly, the folks at McDonald’s are better off when they stick to their own business: nutrition. They’ve made some worthwhile efforts to improve the quality of the food that so many people buy from them. Marketing milk over soda and apples over fries are just two of a number of nudges for which McDonald’s genuinely deserves credit.

But even the subtlest suggestion that its customers are the problem – like handing out fitness trackers – has a way of backfiring. Physical activity is important for good health. Unfortunately, McDonald’s is the wrong messenger. When this fast food giant delivers the message, it looks more like a diversion than a public health service.

Of course, it didn’t help that this tracker was cheap and cheesy. A CNET reviewer called it “terrible,” while also noting that it was “the only fitness band I’ve ever used that came with a cheeseburger.”

Marketers call this “going off strategy.” It’s bad for the health of a brand.

Click here for more on the Step-It debacle from CNN.

Strike a Light, photograph © Rob Howard / flickr

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August 20, 2016

One Response to “This Is Not the Way to Burn Calories”

  1. August 20, 2016 at 8:04 am, Allen Browne said:

    Yup – Oops!