10.10.2010

brain snatchers on the move again: using your children as billboards

Continuing on the advertising theme, we have another answer to my perennial rhetorical question: Is there any space that isn't covered in advertising these days?

This time I also ask a related question. How does the US government help support small businesses? By spending trillions on war and pennies on education. From the Boston Globe:
Ads for cigarettes and liquor won't make the cut.

But ads for local ice cream shops or hair salons could soon be appearing on permission slips, class calendars, and school notices sent home with Peabody elementary school students after a unanimous School Committee vote this week.

The novel plan to sell ad space on school communications marks the latest twist in how commercialization of schools — from the sale of billboard space to ads on buses — is generating cash in lean times.

The ads, possibly the first of their kind in Massachusetts, "will have to be age-appropriate, but we’re thinking about ads from local pizza and ice cream shops, dance and karate schools, maybe from a florist or a college," said Superintendent C. Milton Burnett. The initial program aims to earn at most $24,000.

4 comments:

redsock said...

And this totally fucked up plan will bring in, at most, $24,000?!?!!?

On the other hand, that will pay the annual salary of two teachers.

redsock said...

This money-raising measure could be topped with what the US spends in Iraq and Afghanistan in six seconds.

(Info, based on Feb. 2008 figures, here. And this is money being spent on only those two wars. At the moment, the US is conducting military operations with "special forces" in approximately 73 other countries.)

John F said...

I have a wooden ruler from the 1950s with a Coke ad printed on it. My great aunt, a retired teacher, gave it to me. She told me stuff like that was sent to schools for free at the time.

I've also seen a world map from the same period, hanging in an old classroom. Each major ocean had a different Cadbury's chocolate bar printed on it.

Corporations have been targeting children for a long time. What's new and disturbing is that the school in this story seems to be actively selling ad space. So, is there a vice-principal in charge of ad sales? Does he wear a Herb Tarleck-style plaid suit?

L-girl said...

There's no doubt corporations have been targetting children for a long time. When I was a child, the ads on Saturday morning cartoons for unhealthy children's cereal were so ubiquitous that children's advocacy groups forced the cereal manufacturers to add nutritional value to the creals and forced the networks to add educational material in those time slots. Ads geared at young people is an enormous business.

I personally never saw ads on anything in school, as you're describing with the ruler or map. We only saw the company's name that made the ruler or map.

I do think there is a substantial difference between the occasional product distribution and schools being so starved for revenue that they sell ad space. Not that the Coke ruler or Cadbury map were good, but I'm guessing they were more incidental - and not part of a privatization scheme.