Casualty in the cola wars

March 28, 1998

WHEN SCHOOLS in Baltimore and elsewhere were offered free televisions and other apparatus years ago in exchange for the right to broadcast ads for sneakers, snack foods and other products in classrooms, more than a few people feared where it might lead.

One scenario came true this month in Evans, Ga., 100 miles from Atlanta, where a high school senior received a day of in-house suspension because he wore a shirt bearing a Pepsi logo on "Coke Day."

School officials organized the day, during which students learned about the business of Coca-Cola in various classes, to ingratiate themselves with the soft-drink giant in the hopes of landing a $10,000 company award.

The Greenbrier High administration, apparently chagrined that the student's shirt might have offended their guests from Coke, disciplined him -- and landed him 15 minutes of fame in the process. Pepsi sent 19-year-old Mike Cameron more logo shirts, while talk shows made him an instant symbol of commercialism run amok.

Pub Date: 3/28/98

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