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God, Country, Notre Dame and Coke?

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, February 3, 2005

The front page of the Feb. 2 edition of The Observer featured an article announcing the start of the campus wide “Coca-Cola Challenge.” The article outlined the campaign sponsored by Coke which awards cash prizes to dorms with the largest percentage of Coca-Cola purchases per resident.

Coke hopes by embracing dorm unity this promotion will be more successful than past campaign techniques. We would like to commend the Coca-Cola Corporation for not only taking advantage of the Notre Dame student body but for getting us to both support and promote their exploitation of us. Job well done.

It is bad enough that in today’s society we are assaulted by advertisements from all mediums – television, radio and the Internet. But now, the Coca-Cola Corporation has crafted the students into both the promoters and the audience of their marketing campaign.

Coca-Cola has duped the students into doing their advertising for them with the promise of a “nice little chunk of cash.” The free advertising is all over campus – it’s on the front page of our paper, it’s in bold print in Walsh Hall Stall Notes, it’s present in dorm emails and at Hall Council. The advertising has even infiltrated Keough Hall’s religious services. It seems that nothing can stop Coke from taking over Notre Dame’s campus.

Coke’s campus market representative, Judah Wilson, said in the article this generous promotion is a perk of Notre Dame’s prestige account which “means that [a company is] willing not to focus on profit because the account is more valuable.”

We have a question: How is Coke not going to make a profit from this campaign? The free advertising alone is worth more than our weight in Dasani.

Furthermore, after crunching some numbers, we’ve discovered if, in the heat of competition, roughly every student buys a measly three 20 ounce bottles of Coke during this six-week campaign, Coke will bring in an estimated $32,400.

Even after you subtract the $4,000 in prizes that Coke is giving the campus out of the goodness of their hearts, Coke will still have grossed $28,400. Either Coke is going to profit, or it costs a ton of money to maintain vending machines. You decide.

While medical studies discourage soda consumption on the grounds that one can of Coke contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, we are encouraging people to “Drink Coke, it pays.”

While other campuses are boycotting the global Coca-Cola Corporation for their human rights abuses, we are pumping vending machines full of quarters all for a one in 27 chance at a $2,000 “grand prize.” Maybe we can use this to fund our new Coke habit after the promotion has ended.

Drink Coke – it pays the Coca-Cola Corporation.

Mary Lynch

Kathleen O’Brien


Walsh Hall

Feb. 2