Moss Kendrix


The Life and Legacy of Moss Kendrix

The Coca-Cola Years

The Coca-Cola Proposal

The National Association of Market Developers

SPECIAL REPORT: The Changing Face of the Urban Markets

The African-American Image Abroad: Golly, It's Good!

The African-American Image in Advertising

The Advertiser's Holy Trinity: Aunt Jemima, Rastus, and Uncle Ben

A Distorted Reflection: African-Americans and Beauty Products

The Times They Are A-Changing 1960 - 1990

The Advertising Future for African-Americans

What the Public Thinks, Counts

The Alexandria Black History Museum

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The Coca-Cola Proposal

Fourteen million people comprise the Negro market of the United States. These people constitute a very important consumer outlet which is best cultivated by promotions and sales schemes that are psychologically angled toward the people of this consumer group.

The proposed Jackie Robinson Coke Clubs and Good Citizenship Corps, as conceived by the author of this prospectus, would embrace three projects:

  1. A Jackie Robinson Bat Boy and Girl Good Citizenship Corps,
  2. A "Who Are America's Twelve Leading Negro Citizens" Contest, and
  3. A Coca-Cola Scholarship Contest for High School Seniors.

Although specifically directed toward the Negro youths of the nation, this proposal entails a plan which would indirectly reach the entire Negro population and would employ programs of advertising, public relations and sales promotion.

Advertising In the promotion of this plan, the Negro press, newspapers and magazines, would be utilized as primary advertising media. Placards, posters and other types of advertising instrumentalities would be used as conditions might warrant. In accord with the advertising policies of The Coca-Cola Company, local bottlers of Coca-Cola would cooperate in the promotion of any advertising campaign entailed in this project.

Public Relations In order to assure the successful promotion of this plan, programs of public relations would be projected to run concurrently with other phases of the project. Of necessity, such public relations programs would be of a nature to direct attention toward the project and assure best results in the venture.

Sales Promotions The sale of Coca-Cola would form the basis of participation in The Jackie Robinson Coke Clubs and Good Citizenship Corps program. Stipulations covering this participation would involve methods of marketing and, therefore, must be planned in accord with such policies of The Coca-Cola Company. Such methods would have to be organized under the direction of designated officials of The Coca-Cola Company.


This plan is built around the current popularity of Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodger first baseman and the first Negro to enter modern organized baseball. In addition to capitalizing on the popularity of this great athlete, the project is designed to give impetus to the Attorney General's program for the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency, and might be promoted in cooperation with the committee which has been created by Presidential approval to handle this Department of Justice youth program.

The name, Jackie Robinson, is one known and highly praised by Negro youths throughout the nation. Noting his interest in the welfare of the youths of the nation, Robinson recently accepted the leading role in a Herald Studio motion picture entitled "Courage", a film treating juvenile delinquency. Reliable sources have indicated that Robinson will donate his remuneration for appearance in this film to organizations devoted to work among boys and girls.

In 1947, Robinson was recipient of several honors in testimony to his athletic ability and good sportsmanship. He was named baseball's "rookie of the year" and, in a nationwide poll, he was voted second among the ten most popular personalities of the nation. He was listed second to Bing Crosby and above such persons as Frank Sinatra and Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur.

This is the man around whom this project would be built.

The Jackie Robinson Bat Boy and Girl Good Citizenship Corps

For boys and girls fourteen years of age and under, it is proposed that The Coca-Cola Company sponsor A Jackie Robinson Bat Boy and Girl Good Citizenship Corps.

Boys and girls in the above age group would qualify as members of the Corps by submitting brief good citizenship slogans. Under any condition, each boy or girl having submitted a slogan would be given an attractive good citizenship certificate and a button.

Both the certificate and button would carry the likeness of Robinson. The certificate, signed by Robinson, would carry the great athlete's "do's and don't's" of good citizenship and a seal crediting The Coca-Cola Company for the sponsorship of the project.

Many boys and girls would frame their certificates and would keep them throughout life in honor and memory of Robinson. Coca-Cola would profit through the creation of present and future markets. Parents would be greatly impressed by such a worthwhile venture on the part of The Coca-Cola Company.

For best results at the "Coke" counters, this project should be launched in the summer and may extend for an indefinite period of time.

Jackie Robinson Asks, "Who Are America's Twelve Leading Negro Citizens? Why?

"Who are America's twelve leading Negro citizens?''...Jackie Robinson asks the question...Negro boys and girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen answer through The Coca-Cola Leading Negro Citizens' Contest.

This contest would extend over a period of six weeks commencing about October 1st and extending until about the middle of November. The twelve leading citizens would be selected from brief essays written by boys and girls within the age range stated above. (Note suggested ad copy at close of this section.) Educational leaders, schools, YMCAs, YWCAs and other social agencies working with youths would be asked to cooperate in this project.

Selection of the twelve leading citizens would be made upon the basis of the number of essays received devoted to a given individual, with each essay counting as one vote. The girl or boy submitting tile essay judged best in each winning group would be given a modest but worthwhile award. (Please note ad copy).

A panel of Contest Judges would select the winning essays during the period between the close of the contest (mid-November, and the 20th of December. Persons having been selected among the twelve leading citizens would be announced in full page advertisements of an institutional nature carried by The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers during the first twelve weeks of the year following tile close of the contest. Appropriate advertising and public relations would be employed prior to and during the six-week period of the contest.

No persons other than contest officials, judges and interested officials of The Coca-Cola Company would know the identity of persons having been selected "leading citizens" prior to the week during which the individual is featured. Such a procedure would stimulate tremendous interest within the Negro population of the nation.

Jackie Robinson asks:

  • Who are America's 12 Leading Negro Citizens?
  • Who? (Brief biographical sketch of leading citizen of the week, chosen from contest entries.)
  • Why? -- Leading Citizen's message to youth?
  • Winning essay on leading citizen of the week.

"These Twelve" Scholarship Contest

At the outset of the running of the institutional advertisement series featuring the selection of America's twelve leading Negro citizens, it is proposed that The Coca-Cola Company announce a scholarship contest to be known as "These Twelve Leading Citizens".

This contest would be open to high school seniors only who would compete by writing lengthy essays (number of words to be later decided) devoted to the twelve leading citizens. Four 41,000 scholarships might be given on a regional basis, or under other conditions, which would permit local bottlers to cooperate in the venture. Regulations in keeping with good scholarship, etc. would be later worked out.

Cooperating Interest

In each of the above introduced projects, Jackie Robinson would be used where possible to boost the participation, interest on the part of Negro boys and girls of the nation. Civic, social, fraternal and professional organizations would be requested to aid in the promotion of this project, which would have as its primary objective the forwarding of good citizenship among Negro boys and girls.

It might be wise if no direct sales promotion were attached to this plan, but handled locally by bottlers independently of the national projects.


In that the sponsorship of this project would represent a significant contribution to the general welfare of the nation, its profits to the Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers would be immeasurable.

Direct profits to be acknowledged by Coca-Cola would be tremendous and far-reaching. In addition to capitalizing on the current Negro market, the project would embrace a type of public relations involving youth which should tend to cultivate future markets. The Coca-Cola Company, in displaying interest in the children of the present Negro market, should note a type of appreciation on the part of Negro parents that would definitely pay dividends in increased sales of "Coke."

Many of the persons who would be selected among the twelve leading Negro citizens are outstanding personalities in various fields of national endeavor, heads of national organizations, etc. In essence, these persons would endorse Coca-Cola -- and their "publics" would doubtless represent significant segments of the Negro market. Coca-Cola's already vast popularity at social gatherings, sporting events, at the "coke" counters, and in the home would be further enhanced through the Company's sponsorship of this project.

Since favorable publicity would of necessity result from a venture of this sort on the part of a manufacturer, it would be expected that The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers would receive enormous coverage in the Negro press.