he goal of the W. W. “Foots” Clements Free Enterprise Institute is to teach young people about the free enterprise economic system. Free enterprise can be defined as “the freedom of individuals and businesses to operate and compete with a minimum of government interference or regulation.” More practically, it is the opportunity for someone to invent something new, start his own business, or create her own company.
Since its inception in 1997, the Free Enterprise Institute has hosted thousands of students from all parts of Texas in our program, Advertising and Marketing Kid Style. In this day-long program, students use the soft drink industry as a model—a model in which they create a new product, develop a name, logo, slogan, label, and a commercial—to understand the basic steps entrepreneurs take on the road to success.
The program begins with a tour of the Dr Pepper Museum. From a recreation of Dr. Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store to the bottling room of the old Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company (which later was renamed “The Dr Pepper Company”), students learn how soft drinks were created, manufactured, and marketed. After the tour, the rest of the morning is spent exploring the history of advertising from the town criers of old through advertising on the Internet. Students also take a close look at what makes an effective slogan and logo, and of course there are some Dr Pepper television commercials!
The afternoon portion of the program is very much hands-on. Students work in teams to create three experimental soft drinks—one of which they choose to “sell” to the “public.” (More on this later.) Once they commit to a formula, students must decide on a name, create a logo and slogan, design a label, and plan and act out a commercial.
While students are working on the marketing campaign, the soft drinks are judged. Staff members play the role of the “public” and determine which of the soft drinks has the best name, slogan, logo, label design, and most importantly, taste! It is important for students to understand that if they choose to be an entrepreneur, there will be competition to be faced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in Advertising and Marketing Kid Style?
- Groups of 10 to 30
- The program is written at the 5th grade level, but we are happy to have students from 3rd grade through college.
- Home-school groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, 4-H, church groups, private school and public school groups are welcome
All-day? Are you serious?
- Yes! Ideally, groups arrive about 9:00am and stay until 2:30 or 3:00pm. That allows us time to do everything! We can make adjustments in the program based on travel time as necessary. Make sure the students (and adults) bring a lunch.
I’m not able to come all day, but I could give you a couple of hours. What could we do with that?
- We also offer a two-hour version called Create a Soft Drink. Essentially, it’s just the hands-on portion without the workbook or commercials. Students get the tour and then work in teams to create their own soft drinks. There is an opportunity for students to do a little “show and tell” as the spokes-model for their creation at the end.
I’d like to do this with the students in my school, but we have 92 students in our 4th grade. What can I do?
- We are limited to about 30 simply because of the size of the room we are working in. We have several schools that bring the whole grade over several days. (We do offer a discount rate if that’s the case….)
This is just for Gifted/Talented students, right?
- Oh, no! While many of our returning teachers bring their G/T students, this program is a great experience for ALL students!
- We even recommend this program (or the Create a Soft Drink) for older students with learning disabilities. If learning disabled students can do simple addition/subtraction; can make team decisions about flavors and colors; can measure, pour, and stir; and can design a label either independently or with teacher assistance at approximately the 3rd grade level, then this is a program you want to add to your curriculum.
Speaking of curriculum, how can we tie this into what we are studying at school?
- Language arts—advertising = propaganda; reading for meaning; writing for a purpose
- Mathematics—measurement; using addition and subtraction to solve problems
- Science—laboratory practices; scientific process; following procedures; problem-solving
- Social Studies—history and economics
- Art—graphic design and drama
- Contact the Programs Department for assistance with specific TEKS alignment or ideas for integration with your existing curriculum.
Can we do this program on a weekend?
At this time, no. Because of the nature of the program, this program is a major disruption to the natural flow of our visitors. As we are expanding into the historic Kellum-Rotan building next-door, we are planning a dedicated education space that will allow us to do that.
We can’t come to the Museum—can you come to us?
- That really must be handled on a case-by-case basis. It depends on distance and number of students who will be participating. Please consider: one of the things that makes this program what it is, is simply being here at the Home of Dr Pepper—using the original laboratory as the room where students create their own sodas, seeing real bottling equipment, and getting the sense of the history of Dr Pepper and the soft drink industry.