Advertisements in schools
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Advertisements in schools is a controversial issue that is debated in the United States. Naming rights of sports stadiums and fields, sponsorship of sports teams, placement of signage, vending machine product selection and placement, and free products that children can take home are all prominent forms of advertisements in schools.
Types of Advertisements in Schools
Many state laws permit advertising to be sold on the exterior and fewer permit advertising on the interior of school buses. However, many of these laws prohibit ads for political speech, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, drugs, or material of sexual nature.
Restaurant and fast-food chains frequently offer free treats in the form of coupons to students who receive good grades or have good attendance on their report card. In certain districts, free cell phones are offered to students who receive text messages from companies promoting academic success. Additionally, educational materials are donated to classrooms as a way to support a curriculum. Oftentimes these materials contain the company’s logo or views that are subjective to the company.
Channel One News is a program designed for and broadcast to elementary, middle and high school students. It contains commercial advertising. Its advertising regulations have changed over the years and currently restrict advertisements related to food and beverages that are inconsistent with their healthy lifestyle initiatives, gambling, motion pictures above PG-13, politics, religion, and tobacco or alcohol products.
Sponsorship of school sports teams and fields or stadiums is common. Many high school teams have received uniforms, shoes, and funding for upkeep of their stadiums or fields in exchange for naming rights or the team wearing the sponsor’s logo. Companies will also offer discounts to the team members they are sponsoring as a way to push sales.
Sponsorship also comes in the form of funds given to have the company’s logo put on report cards and supply lists. Companies know back-to-school time is a great time to increase profit. By putting their marketing material on school supply lists it encourages parents to shop at their stores instead of others.
Vending Machine Products
Food and beverage companies spend on average $150 million each year advertising in schools. Many of the drinks and foods are advertised and made available through vending machines. Even with regulations on what types of foods are allowed to be sold and marketed, the food and drink companies are still able to advertise their brand to students.
Arguments in favor of advertising
According to some school administrators, states have cut funding for K-12 education consistently for the last eight years causing many districts to cut jobs, increase class size, and cut spending on supplies. Using advertisements in schools is a way to raise money for school districts. According to proponents, schools, especially in less affluent areas, need ways to raise money in order to keep school programs alive and alleviate the financial burden presented by the funding cuts.
Another argument is that some advertisements may create a positive correlation to a healthy diet or lifestyle products.
Arguments against advertising
According to critics, many advertisements endorse products that are detrimental to children's health, such as unhealthy food, and some people argue that children are more easily drawn to persuasive advertisements than adults. It has also been argued that schools should be environments where students will not be distracted from their work by advertisements.[according to whom?]
There is a concern that children do not understand the motivation behind ads. Children under the age of 13 are a vulnerable population that lacks the executive functioning skills to comprehend what the advertisement is trying to sell and the techniques used to persuade and frame customer decisions. Children do not possess the same knowledge of advertising tactics as adults and are more susceptible to their persuasive intent. Elementary school children are not necessarily able to comprehend the fact that advertising agencies may have a different perspective from their own.
Restrictions on Advertisements
Each state in the United States of America can define additional regulations for advertising in its local schools.
The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School, as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was updated in 2013 to reform school lunch options. This placed restrictions on what could be served in vending machines and sold on school grounds, with the exception of fundraisers (often candy bars or doughnuts) and after-school events.
This caused a shift in advertising for many companies as it phased out advertising of sugary drinks and junk foods. While the Coca-Cola Company would not be able to advertise Coca-Cola, it can advertise other product lines such as Diet Coke and Dasani.
In 2006 the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative was implemented by the Council of Better Business Bureaus as a way to encourage corporations to regulate what they advertise to children. It is not required for businesses to participate in this regulation and there are no legal ramifications if corporations do not participate.
Corporations that Advertise in Schools
- Air Force Academy
- Air Force Reserve
- Almond Board of California
- Army Reserve
- Bank of America
- Chef Boyardee
- Cliff Notes
- Coca Cola Company
- First National Bank
- Fleet/Norstar Financial Group
- General Foods
- General Foods Birds Eye
- Giftmaster Inc.
- Hyatt Regency
- Ikea USA Inc
- Image Photography
- InPro Corp
- KBUN Radio
- Nestlé Waters
- Nike, Inc.
- Pony Sneakers
- Procter & Gamble
- Promise Spread
- Reebok Pump
- Reynolds Wrap
- RPM International
- Russell Athletic
- Security State Bank
- SI for Kids Gear
- ShopRite Supermarkets
- Smith Corona
- Stay Free
- Staples Inc.
- Strength System Footwear
- Sugar Daddy
- Super 8 Motel
- Sure & Natural
- Target Corporation
- The Market Place
- Time Warner
- Toys ‘R’ Us
- U.S. Navy
- Verizon Wireless
- Women’s Sports Foundation
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