Promotions Help Businesses Raise Profile While Backing Schools

October 23, 1991 2 min read

While “Apples for the Students” may be the marketing scheme with the highest profile among precollegiate educators, it is far from the only promotion operating on similar lines.

A variety of businesses, from automakers to pizza-makers, have seized on the concept of swapping receipts or proofs-of-purchase for merchandise as a way to generate potential business while demonstrating their “support for education.”

Marketing professionals note that the concept dates back at least 16 years to a label exchange offered by the Campbell Soup Company. They also note that the number of such promotions seems to be on an upswing. Among the other efforts are:

  • “Driving for Education,” created by the same firm that devised Apples for the Students.

Under the promotion, elementary and high schools can earn computers and other equipment if staff members and parents agree to test-drive cars built by the Chevrolet and Geo divisions of the General Motors Corporation during a specified week.

By accumulating 250 test drives at one of 1,000 local dealers nationwide, schools can earn a Macintosh LC, a low-priced color version of the machine that Apple is aggressively promoting to schools.

Lesser numbers of test drives may be exchanged for Macintosh Classic and Apple IIe computers.

Jim Perkins, Chevrolet’s general manager, predicted that the promotion has the ‘potential to bring large numbers of potential buyers into showrooms at a time when the economy is “soft.”

  • “Register Tapes for Education,” developed by Power In Education Inc., a subsidiary of a Pittsburgh marketing firm.

As with Apples for the Students, schools may trade in register receipts for merchandise, in this case musical instruments, school furniture, and computers manufactured by the International Business Machines Corporation.

The same company is developing similar promotions called “Domino’s Delivers Tools to Schools” for the pizza company and “Mall Merchants for Education.”

Del Monte Program

  • “The Del Monte Software Program,” now entering its second year.

Under the program, shoppers may exchange the universal product cedes from packages of the manufacturer’s fruit and pudding “Snack Cups” products for computer software from 16 educational publishers.

The promotion, jointly sponsored by the Computer Learning Foundation, is available to consumers in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Materials about the program, said Laura Clapper, a senior preducts manager for the company, were mailed to principals, heads of parent-teacher groups, and computer coordinators in selected states with large amounts of computer hardware who had participated in previous promotions.

The materials note that each of the 50 programs offered through the promotion has been “approved” by the Computer Learning Foundation’s software-review beard as pedagogically sound.

And, as with the Apples for the Students program, Del Monte touts the cost-savings aspects of its program for parents and schools.

Commenting on such exchange programs, however, analysts note that it is difficult to establish a correlation between the “exchange values” and the cost of the merchandise. It is especially difficult in the case of computers, they say, because computer manufacturers offer a host of special discounts in different markets. --P.W.

A version of this article appeared in the October 23, 1991 edition of Education Week as Promotions Help Businesses Raise Profile While Backing Schools