Coke Effort Encourages African-American Teens

Coke-Ad-BA Coca-Cola “Pay It Forward” contest tied into Black History Month is offering teens a chance to win “apprentice experiences” with “celebrity history-makers.”

Essence president Michelle Ebanks, Grammy Award-winner/philanthropist Ne-Yo and fashion designer Tracy Reese are partnering with Coca-Cola on the contest.

The winning teens will receive five-day apprenticeships (including travel expenses for themselves and a guardian) in one of four areas: business (Ebanks); fashion (Reese); community/philanthropy (Ne-Yo) and music/entertainment.

Parents may nominate their teens, or teens may nominate themselves. Each entrant can make up to five submissions, but can nominate an individual only once. The contest started on Jan. 30 and ends Feb. 15.



Entering requires registering for My Coke Rewards, then providing short (maximum 50 words each) answers to three essay questions: Why do you/your teen deserve an apprenticeship experience with a celebrity history-maker?; If you/your teen won, how would you/your teen use the experience to “Pay it Forward” and help others or your community?; and What is your or your teen’s favorite Coca-Cola memory?

All legal U.S. residents 16 and older are eligible to make submissions, but all nominees must be between the ages of 16 and 19. A panel of judges will select the four winners based on creativity/originality (40%), quality of submission (10%) and fit to contest theme of “contribution to the African-American community and ‘Paying it Forward’” (50%).

In addition, each uploaded submission earns the nominator an entry in a sweepstakes offering two prizes of $1,000 Visa gift cards.

In addition to the national celebrity apprenticeship experiences, Coca-Cola will leverage corporate and community partnerships to provide local opportunities in select cities, including Atlanta, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, Ala., and Chicago.

The Pay It Forward challenge is being promoted in part through a public service announcement featuring Ne-Yo, airing on radio stations across the country.

During February, Coca-Cola is also encouraging tweeters to share ways that they are paying it forward, using the hashtag #PayItForward.

“By drinking and supporting Coca-Cola, our consumers make it possible for us to pay it forward with this one-of-a-kind [apprenticeship experiences] opportunity,” said Kimberly Paige, assistant VP, African American Marketing Group, Coca-Cola North America.

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