Why buy the world a Coke, when you can just forward an e-mail?
That question’s at the heart of an e-mail hoax that promises free cola for fowarding a certain e-mail around the Net.
Here’s the original e-mail:
Date Captured: April 17, 2000
Subject: FREE COCA COLA FOR A MONTH
Coca-Cola is offering four free cases of diet coke or regular coke to every person you send this to. When you have finished sending this e-mail to as many people as you wish, a screen will come up. It will then ask where you want your free coke products sent. This is a sales promotion to get our name out to young people around the world. We believe this project can be a success, but only with your help. So please start e-mailing and help us build our database. Thank you for your support!
Director of Marketing
Unfortunately for Coca-Cola lovers everywhere, this hoax simply isn’t true (although some people still think it is — even though this page debunks the hoax, two or three people people have written to me asking how they can get a month’s supply of cola from Coke.)
Here’s the deal:
- Where’s the promotion?: First, let’s do a little mental leg work. Visit Coca-Cola’s Web site and you’ll find lots of information about the the company and it’s products, but you won’t find any mention of any ‘Coke for e-mail’ programs. And when was the last time you saw a Coke ad on TV promising you free stuff for forwarding annoying e-mail?
- E-mail tracking does not exist: Once again, with feeling — e-mail tracking programs do not exist! Companies can not track how many times you’ve forwarded a message, no matter how much they might like to and how much you’d like a free case of Coke.
- The company denies it: Of course, the best way to debunk a myth is to simply go to the source. In April 2000, Coca-Cola had a press release on their site debunking the hoax. Unfortunately, they’ve since taken it down.
You can read other debunkings of this hoax on these Web sites:
- Snopes.com: Thousand Dollar Bill: A thorough debunking of the entire “Free Stuff For Forwarding E-mail” genre.
- Hoaxbusters: Giveaway Hoaxes: Another page providing an overview of the giveaway hoax genre.