Here’s a page from the history books of consumerism history: Back in the early 90′s, Prego gave out 12,000 free posters to classrooms across America containing a “lesson plan” for a “scientific” experiment in which they would test whether Prego or Ragu Old World Style was thicker. The poster came with a free slotted spoon and a coupon for a 30 oz jar of Prego. In the September 95 issue of Harper’s Magazine, David Shenk lampooned this blatant insertion of commercial messages into the classroom under the guise of learning about the scientific method:
Students are instructed to predict whether Prego or Ragu Old World Style is thicker, and to conduct an experiment to test their hypothesis. They’re told that the experiment has not been performed correctly unless Prego is proven to be thicker.
The whole article is online as a 2 page PDF.
The Pedagogy of Pasta Sauce: Pretending to help teachers, Campbell’s teaches consumerism (PDF) [Harper's Magazine]