WASHINGTON, DC – April 28, 2011 -- The Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign – sponsored by nonprofits Global Exchange, Green America, and the International Labor Rights Forum – announced today the winners of their “brand jamming” contest in order to bring attention to Hershey’s failure to crack down on child labor and other abuses in its cocoa supply chain. The grand prize winner is Jason Pearson of San Clemente, CA for his mock advertisement "Brand Jam", a one minute video that tells the real story of where Hershey’s cocoa comes from .
The announcement of the Hershey “brand jamming” winners coincides with Hershey’s Annual General Meeting for shareholders in Hershey, PA today. Thousands of people nationwide voted to choose their favorite entries for best slogan, best video and best poster.
The winner for Best Video is: Behind the Hershey Smiles , submitted by Aaron Thurman: Indianapolis, IN.
The winner for Best Slogan is: “Hershey: Sweet Chocolate. Bitter Story” submitted by Tyson Weems of Portland, ME.
The winner for Best Poster is: Children Behind Bars , submitted by Jason Pearson of San Clemente, CA
Jason Pearson received the $1,000 grand prize. The other winning entrants received a Fair Trade chocolate gift basket. The winning entries will be used by the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign to call attention to Hershey’s failure to address child and forced labor in its cocoa supply chain. Winning entries will be featured at Green Festivals nationwide, on t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers. The winners and runner-ups can all be seen here - http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/brandjamwinners 
To reinforce this message to shareholders on the day of their annual meeting, concerned consumers across the country are sending emails to Hershey and posting on the company’s Facebook wall. They join the 30,000 people who have already contacted the company to make it clear that cocoa made with forced child labor is unacceptable.
Global Exchange Fair Trade Director Adrienne Fitch Frankel said:
“Hershey shareholders deserve to know the facts: Hershey has failed to eliminate child and forced labor from its cocoa supply chain, nearly a decade after committing to do so. This creates a dangerous level of risk for investors, and an intolerable situation for the children effected.”
Green America Fair Trade Coordinator Elizabeth O’Connell said:
“As Hershey’s shareholders gather today to learn about the state of the company, these brand jam winners remind us all that Hershey has significant liabilities surrounding its cocoa sourcing. Consumers increasingly expect that companies care about the people who make their products, and Hershey’s lags behind the industry in addressing child and forced labor.”
ILRF Campaigns Director Tim Newman said:
“This is a great way to raise awareness that Hershey lags behind the rest of the industry in failing to have any independent, third party certification for its cocoa. The contest will increase the call on Hershey to raise the bar and begin sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa.”
The “Raise the Bar, Hershey!” Campaign is spearheading actions to encourage Hershey to eliminate the use of child and forced labor and trafficking from its cocoa supply chain and switch to Fair Trade Certified cocoa, which is grown under standards that prohibit such practices. The cocoa industry has been plagued for years by this type of exploitation. Currently, Hershey lags behind its competitors in sourcing cocoa that has been certified by independent, third parties to meet international labor rights standards. Fair Trade also guarantees farmers a stable, minimum price, empowering them to start to escape the cycle of poverty in conventional trade.
For more information on Hershey’s corporate social responsibility record please read Time to Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company. To read this report and see all brand jam submissions visit www.raisethebarhershey.org .