The end of August brings about the start of school for millions of kids across the country. With the economy in the plunged state that it currently resides, many school districts are faced with budget cuts and rough times. This has led to the recent decision in some states to sell school bus space for advertising in return for extra funding that schools are losing.
Sites, such as schoolbusadvertising.com, have emerged which make it easy for school districts to sign up and start earning revenue by allowing signs sized at 90 inches long by 30 inches tall to be displayed on the side of their school buses.
Currently only seven states; Utah, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee Arizona, and New Jersey, have passed laws allowing school bus marketing to be legalized. There are many other states in the process of starting this since they have seen the success school districts have gained from these additional sources of revenue.
Regulations have been placed on the ads and do not allow the school buses to promote alcohol, gambling, politics, religion or sexual innuendo. Beyond these restrictions it is up to individual school districts to decide what should and should not be allowed on the sides of their children’s transportation. While the target audiences of these advertisements are the motorists and community members who see the moving billboards, many groups still raise concerns about having ads (such as the pizza ad shown in the image to the right) promote unhealthy eating habits endorsed by the learning environment.
Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) is one organization that is taking a stand against these ads saying that while they may help fund the school district, this could just be the beginning of corporations invading the learning environments of our children, potentially swaying their views from an early age. Some parents and community members are also worried that students who associate riding the bus as part of their education may psychologically think the ads are part of their learning.
What are your thoughts? Are allowing these ads a good way to save sagging school district funds or a marketing strategy gone too far?