Well that didn’t last long.
Just days after McDonald’s excited the burger-scoffing masses with the release of an activity tracker for kids, the company has gone and pulled it.
Reports of skin irritation among littl’uns wearing the device prompted the House of Ronald to withdraw its plastic “Step-it” wristband, which was being offered as a freebie with every Happy Meal purchase in the U.S. and Canada.
“We have taken this swift and voluntary step after receiving limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated from wearing the band,” McDonald’s spokesperson Terri Hickey said in a statement on Wednesday, adding, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and we are fully investigating this issue.” There’s no word yet on whether it plans to recall the device.
Step-it activity tracker
Free of bells and with not a single whistle in sight either, the uncomplicated tracker features a single power/reset button and a display showing how many steps you take. A couple of built-in LED lights attempt to ramp up Step-it’s fun factor, with a gentle stroll prompting the occasional flash and an energetic sprint making it blink like a cyclist with a fly in the eye.
The sudden decision to pull the tracker puts into jeopardy the fast-food giant’s earlier-stated plan for a TV and YouTube ad blitz featuring the device, a campaign it’s no doubt already spent heaps of money on preparing.
For kids, the Happy Meal might be a little less happy for the time being, but the fact is, activity trackers like the Step-it (though ones that are a little more advanced) have caused plenty of headaches for companies in the past. Fitbit, for example, was forced to recall its Force fitness tracker back in 2014 following reports of nearly 10,000 incidents of skin irritation, while just a few weeks ago Basis recalled every Peak tracker it’s ever sold after some units reportedly caused burns after overheating.