Your Kids’ Lesson Plans Are Being Brought To You By Pfizer, WD-40, & Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

It’s one thing for a huge drug company, manufacturer, trade group, or media conglomerate to use their considerable coffers to fund educational programs, but what about when the ultimate goal of those programs is to just advertise products, movies, and TV shows to kids and their parents under the guise of education?

While reading through a recent article on about the many ways that drug companies and medical device makers quietly market their products to kids, we stumbled upon the treasure trove of bizarre marketing/lesson plans distributed by a Connecticut company called YMI.

There’s the Pfizer-sponsored lesson plans to raise awareness of meningitis B — which Pfizer tries to brand as simply “B” — a disease for which Pfizer just happens to market one of the two available vaccines.

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However, the Pfizer campaign is nothing compared to the more blatant advertising done in many of the other YMI lesson plans.

We have no idea why your child would be taught an entire program about pork and all its amazingness, but the National Pork Board — the idiots who sent a 12-page cease-and-desist to ThinkGeek after it posted an April Fool’s joke listing for canned unicorn, aka the “new white meat” — has created teaching materials (read: pretty much recipes) “designed for students in middle/junior high school Family and Consumer Science classes.”

It even comes with a handy visual guide for “purchasing pork,” which is admittedly helpful for shoppers, but maybe not so important that it takes up classroom time?

Again, the Big Pork lesson plan doesn’t mention any particular brand — just pig parts… yummy pig parts. Other lesson plans available on the YMI site quickly toss away the veil of education.

Take WD-40’s curriculum, which seeks to “Turn everyday household problems into ‘teachable moments’ as students discover how versatile products like baking soda, duct tape, and WD-40 can provide innovative solutions for maintenance and repair.”

Because parents like to be made aware of what their kids are learning at school, WD-40 includes a take-home pamphlet, explaining that “Your child will learn some of the multiple ways that WD-40 and other common products can solve household problems and help your family save money,” and of course providing a list of 50 ways the spray lube can be of use around your house.


Some “lesson plans” are literally nothing more than ads, like this one from IMAX that provides no more information than where students can go see a movie on an IMAX screen.

Many movies and TV shows market themselves to kids through YMI, including one for the Peanuts movie, one for the Steve Harvey-hosted Little Big Shots, the Will Ferrell movie Elf, but none so head-scratchingly odd as this lesson plan based on Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

Yes, your children could be getting safety lessons on stranger danger from the blustering manchild title character from a movie that Variety described as “possible evidence of a civilization in decline.”

Let’s just end this all watching Kevin James live up to his contractual obligation to portray the Paul Blart character in this marketing video that your kid may have watched as an actual school lesson:

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