PTA pitches Coke 'rewards' program
An on-line PTA newsletter recently highlighted a CocaCola program that has students using soft drink label codes to raise money for schools.
It’s all part of something Coke calls “Coke Rewards.” The real “reward” is for CocaCola’s bottom line through acceptance of the consumption of harmful, sugar-laden beverages that contribute to an epidemic of diabetes.
In short, the PTA's promotion of this program is trading the health of children for a few dollars for cash-strapped schools. The problems are real; the answers can’t be found in consumption of soft drinks and corporate handouts.
In addition to Coke’s gaining positive PR through its program, it also buys silence about the harm done by its products. Note the lame disclaimer attached to the end of the newsletter item.
“This promotion is not intended by anyone at Wilson to encourage consumption of certain products, just to take advantage of the benefits the company offers from products you may already be using.”
“Certain products”? “MAY already be using”?
How about a line that overtly warns against the harm associated with the continued consumption of “certain” “products you may already be using.”
I think they call that “education,” which is the mission, if I recall correctly, of the PTA.
Question: If Philip Morris set up a similar program rewarding submitted cigarette butts with contributions to the school, would the PTA participate?
Here’s the full text of the message as it appeared....
If you drink Coke products, you have the power to donate points that translate to cash and prizes appropriate for improving all kinds of areas at the school. Look under the caps of any Coke product bottle and inside of the carton of Coke, Sprite, Barq's, etc cans for a code worth 3-10 points. You may enter them on your own My Coke Rewards account and then donate them to Wilson or drop them in the PTA box in front office and we'll enter them. Wilson's Students for Environmental Action (SEA) will collect caps from recycled bottles at school. Wilson is registered at MyCokeRewards.com and ready to accept suggestions for our wish list and donations of codes. Go to: http://www.mycokerewards.com, scroll over the "Schools" black tab and click "donate to a school", enter Wilson's zip code 97219 to search, scroll to the bottom of the drop down to find Wilson, click on it and then continue. If you go there soon, you can enter Wilson for their SparksParks for Schools promotion and increase our odds of winning $25,000 to improve our school's park-like grounds. This promotion is not intended by anyone at Wilson to encourage consumption of certain products, just to take advantage of the benefits the company offers from products you may already be using. For more information contact PTA VP Maureen Berrie-Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.