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Coca-Cola challenge underway

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Coca-Cola Enterprises is sponsoring a new campus wide competition, offering $2,000 to the dorm that consumes the most Coke products per resident.”Our promotions in the past few years have not been much success,” said Judah Wilson, campus market representative for Coca-Cola. “I think this will be successful because it benefits the whole dorm.”Wilson said Coca-Cola offered two $500 travel packages through Anthony Travel and $1,000 in other prizes last year to students who scratched off the winning bottle caps. “About 20 T-shirts were picked up but no one claimed the grand prizes. No one was interested,” Wilson said. “Promotions have been going on for years, but students don’t seem to benefit.” In response, Wilson, Food Services and Coca-Cola met to brainstorm new ways to drive sales and promote the product. They decided to give prize money to dorms instead of individual students because of what Wilson perceives to be a strong dorm atmosphere on campus. “Notre Dame is a community built around dorms. You’re a member of a dorm and then an ND student,” Wilson said. “[Two thousand dollars] is a nice little chunk of cash and dorms can decide what they want to do with it … dorm party, DVD players, whatever they need.” In addition to the grand prize, one $1,000, one $500, three $250 and four $100 prizes will be awarded to top-placing dorms. The money for the prizes comes from Coca-Cola’s prestige account with Notre Dame. “A prestige account means [a company is] willing to not focus on profit because the account is more valuable,” said Wilson. Wilson also said Coca-Cola enters these accounts because they want to be associated with quality. “We are good at academics, sports, everything. We are Notre Dame,” he said. Wilson said the hall presidents greeted the six-week competition with excitement when he presented at Hall President’s Council. Though he has not seen any tallies yet, Wilson has his picks for the winner.”I would think Keough would win because the past president of Coca-Cola was Don Keough and he is currently on the board of directors.”Keough Hall president Ricky Nieto is urging residents to win, but does not feel any pressure because of the dorm’s namesake. “It is just a fun competition. We are pushing it hard … in emails, at hall council meetings, after mass. This cash prize is large,” he said. “Outside of HPC’s [Hall President’s Council] occasional competition, there really aren’t ways to earn that much.” According to Wilson, Vending Services keeps track of how many bottles of Coke products are sold from each dorm vending machine. Coke products include Powerade, Minute Maid, Fanta, Dasani, Barq’s Root Beer, Sprite and others. Beverages bought from vending machines that are not in dorms will not be counted toward the totals. Each Tuesday, until the promotion ends on March 5, Wilson will present the standings at HPC. Whichever dorm sells the most per resident wins. “This works because small dorms can compete with the Dillons and Alumnis,” said Wilson. “But, unfortunately, if students buy in another dorm, that dorm will get [credit].”Dean Winter, vending operations manager, said he would guess the amount of Coke bought in dorms compared to those bought at other campus locations is “50-50, but dorms [may] be on the lesser end because of big sellers like DeBartolo, the library and the Joyce Center.” “We don’t envision millions of bottles sold,” he said. “I don’t think [the increase in sales] will be staggering. [This competition] is for fun.”Out of the 204 beverage vending machines on campus, 32 Coke brand machines are spread between the 27 residence halls. Each dorm has at least one Coke vending machine in their dorm, with Alumni, Dillon, Sorin, Zahm and Keough each having two. Because of Don Keough’s ties to Coca-Cola Enterprises, it is the only beverage vending option in that hall. “It is a courtesy thing. You don’t want to insult,” said Winter. “He also said this may put Keough at an advantage but “you never know. It depends on how many people choose to participate.”