News Release

Coke and Commercialization of Schools

The Coca-Cola company announced on Wednesday that it intends to change the way it does business with school districts. The list of changes includes encouraging local representatives to negotiate non-exclusive contracts, supplying of vending machines that have school messages on the outside rather than Coke ads, and offering a wider variety of “nutritious” beverages.

The following critics of commercializing schools are available for interviews:

GARY RUSKIN
Director of Commercial Alert, Ruskin said: “Coke is on the run. Their announcement today is a desperate PR effort to keep angry parents from kicking Coke, Pepsi, Channel One and other junk food marketers out of our nation’s schools. In spite of skyrocketing levels of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, Coke wants to keep profiting from the sale of caffeinated, sweetened soda pop to impressionable schoolchildren. If Coke were serious about protecting the health of our children, they would get out of the schools today.”
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ANDREW HAGELSHAW
Executive director of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, Hagelshaw said today: “What these ‘changes’ actually mean for schools and whether Coke actually promotes them on a local level remain to be seen. But one thing is clear. Coke only made this announcement because they’ve been forced into it. They know the exclusive advertising contracts they’ve been pushing are becoming more and more unpopular, and they have to do something if they want to stay in schools and promote brand loyalty. Coke claims in their public statement that this is another step in their commitment to commercial-free schools, but everywhere they’ve been pushed out they’ve left kicking and screaming. The reality is that they would keep on with business as usual if they could. They want us to think this is an education-based decision, but we know this is a business move forced by their bottom line.”

For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167