Voluntary Soda Jerks as PR

"The first salvo in a broader public-relations counterattack by beverage companies to help the industry reverse its tarnished image" is voluntary restrictions on drink sales in schools. The guidelines, which will be touted "in full-page ads in several national newspapers," suggest that new school contracts remove carbonated soft drinks from elementary schools and remove sugary drinks from middle schools during school hours. All beverages will continue to be sold in high schools. Susan Neely, "the creator of the 'Harry and Louise' ads that helped torpedo President Clinton's health-care plan in the early 1990s," now heads the industry group American Beverage Association. She's leading the "multimillion-dollar advertising and PR campaign to show that the beverage industry derives a substantial portion of its sales and growth from healthier beverages." Neely explained, "You have to have an industry voice."


Voluntary restrictions have a history of working very well. For instance, we hardly have any pollution ever since the big industrial companies started voluntarily cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions. -- esp

You can't just blame the soda companies for pop in schools. Yes, Pepsi, Coke, etc., give big bucks to schools (scoreboards, etc.) in exchange for placing pop machines. You'll notice that it's not all pop in those machines. (But, I'm not naive enough to think kids will choose MinuteMaid or water on their own.) Since the soda makers are making it voluntary, the schools should go ahead and pull the machines, or make the companies put in drinks with less sode and caffeine (caffiene?). Yes, I don't want my kids drinking pop at school. But don't come down hard on just the supplier. Their ultimate goal is to make money; not care for children. They have some responsibility, but so do the schools and the parents. The companies are making a start. Mike