Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunny D vs. Mama, round 2

A few years ago I wrote a post about M.G.'s interest in trying Sunny D after seeing it advertised on PBS Kids. I was surprised at the ingredients (water, corn syrup, < 2% juice) and we stuck with O.J. - a big treat then.

Today M.G. brought home a sheet from school that she can use to track Sunny D labels she collects for school. Her teacher included a note about the program (they get books in trade for the labels) and although she didn't straight up encourage us to buy Sunny D, she did tell us to have fun drinking and collecting.

M.G.'s school collects everything - soup labels, milk caps, "box tops", receipts from the local grocery store - and gets money or prizes in return. We turn in what we can, but haven't changed our buying habits. This new promotion frustrates me. Who wouldn't want free books for their classroom? My kindergartner now feels it her duty to buy as much Sunny D as we can. Especially because Mrs. B. wrote a note about it in the newsletter with the words they are learning and other important things.

There isn't anything wrong with a sugary drink now and then, but I find it in poor taste to advertise a snack product through classroom teachers.

M.G. also brought home her Book-it log today. She can earn a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut each month if she reads. (Growing up I loved the night we collected our Book-it pizzas!)

So, she earns free food by reading. Of course Pizza Hut is sure we'll spend more money to feed the rest of us, but we're not obligated.

With the Sunny D promotion she is getting a chance to read by purchasing food.

I'd rather just buy a book for the classroom and skip playing into a marketing scheme. Books for her classroom and a new batch of customers for what I consider a junk food.


David said...

it's a near fool-proof marketing one is going to actively deny schools books, and it makes the company look like they are supporting, it gives kids a logical argument for drinking it...i'd love to think it's management keeping kids best interests at heart, but if they were they might make better quality food for them.

C said...

I remember the Book It pizza thing, too! I was the only kid in my class who participated, mostly because pizza was a huge treat for us and that was the only way I actually got to eat it. Most of the other kids didn't consider it such a luxury and would rather play nintendo than read a book anyway. I actually think in my case it was a good thing.

I can certainly understand why you'd be upset with the school for encouraging children to drink Sunny D. They should be a lot more discreet about it and communicate this sort of thing directly to the parents so the children don't feel obligated. That's a great idea to just donate a book to the school rather than encourage your own daughter to adopt bad eating habits.

It just saddens me that schools have to resort to such tactics to get basic supplies. You'd think our taxes would cover such necessities.