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Scholastic Slings It All to Kids: Sunny D, Coal and Some Ideas for Next School Year

Scholastic Inc. has proven once again it will sling any product to kids if it's paid enough. So with school wrapping up, I thought Scholastic would appreciate a few ideas for next year.

Scholastic's books and other education materials are in nine of 10 U.S. classrooms. Any company would love to infiltrate Scholastic's customers, a group that includes thousands of teachers, children, tweens and teenagers. Luckily, Scholastic will give carte blanche access to just about anyone -- for a price.

The latest example was Scholastic's partnership with the American Coal Foundation. The company's InSchool Marketing division produced a pro-coal curriculum and distributed the free material to thousands of fourth-grader teachers. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups protested and Scholastic has since stopped sending out the coal curriculum.

Other unfortunate partnerships:

  • Scholastic's Creativity Power Push curriculum, designed to promote Nestle Push-Up Ice Cream. The curriculum was packaged as meeting national standards for second, third and fourth grades in language arts and math.
  • Scholastic's Sunny D Book Spree encouraged teachers to have classroom parties with Sunny Delight, the high-fructose corn syrupy juice drink that packs 20 grams of sugar into an 8-ounce serving. The idea was to collect labels to win free books.
  • Promotion of children's Claritin in materials on spring allergies
  • Scholastic Book Club offered the Dairy Queen video game, DQ Tycoon
  • Scholastic distributed materials elementary schools to promote the release of the DreamWorks/Paramount film Megamind were marketed as helping students learn to "read with expression." Suggested activities included having children act out scenes from the upcoming movie by reading from worksheets branded with the film's characters.
With that in mind, here are some ideas for next year:
  1. Pfizer Viagra material: What better way to educate kids about their bodies and help them plan for the future?
  2. The PAC fundraiser curriculum: Math in action. This starter kit will teach kids the fundamentals of math and public speaking. Materials include a campaign button-maker, and composition book to record funds raised.
  3. Creativity Balloon Animal curriculum using Trojan condoms: The perfect craft kit for the art teacher who thinks outside of the box. Condoms come in a variety of colors.
  4. NFL master negotiator curriculum: A perfect set of materials for middle school history teachers. Educate students about labor unions with this handy mock NFL negotiations kit. Includes Tom Brady jersey and a copy of Jerry Maguire.
  5. Wacky tobaccy science lab materials: Science labs are for experimentation and careful observation. Here's a perfect way to combine both. Teachers are encouraged to break students into three groups: observers, placebo and the real shit. Kit includes brownie mix and lava lap.
Photo from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

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