Sponsored Student Events and Incentives
Food and beverage companies make their way into school cafeterias and classrooms by offering the one thing schools around the country need most: money. Despite the appearance of philanthropy, corporate-sponsored events and student incentive programs are really engineered to bring food and beverage marketing into the school to reach a captive audience: your children.
Coupon Rewards. Fast food companies give schools coupons for free food and drinks to use as rewards for student achievements. For example, Pizza Hut’s Book it! Program gives students a coupon for a free individual pizza for reading books.
Visits from Company Mascots. Ronald McDonald visits schools to talk to children about reading and healthy eating, but these visits promote the company sponsoring the visit more than anything else.
Corporate Scholarships. Corporate scholarship programs, like Coca-Cola’sHispanic Scholarship Fund, use scholarships as an opportunity to market their products through the goodwill they provide. Scholarship recipients also serve as brand ambassadors for the companies.
• Raise awareness among parents and school staff about the harmful effects of corporate-sponsored marketing on kids, and find other ways to reward students.
• Work with your district’s wellness committee to adopt a district-wide policy to restrict corporate sponsored incentives and events.
For more information on how marketing reaches students in schools, visit:
National Education Policy Center's report on Health Threats Associated with Schoolhouse Commercialism
Food Marketing Workgroup Resources on Food Marketing in Schools