Times are tough everywhere in the United States. School boards, unions and governments have been fighting for decades to ensure their budgets are balanced and to prevent more cuts. In the last few years, some schools think they have found a way to shield their schools from drastic cuts through advertising.
Many believe opening the school up to ads will help save their schools in the long run. It’s an alternative to endless school fundraisers, and a “deal with the commercial devil” that some are willing to deal with.
Where are ads appearing?
The use of advertisements in football stadiums and college arenas is not new. Sponsorship in sports venues has long been an accepted practice, as have ads that appear in school newspapers and yearbooks. Individuals can make a choice to avoid or ignore these advertisements, as they are not a part of daily school life for most students.
Recently, problems have cropped up with the addition, by some schools, of advertising on school buses. This began approximately 20 years ago in Colorado and spread from there to Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey and, more recently, Utah. And it hasn’t ended there. Since, advertisements have spread to actual school buildings, and are slated for and already appearing on some lockers and in student lunch rooms or cafeterias. Ads are becoming a prominent presence in schools.
Some schools, desperate to stave off cuts, are looking to place advertisements any and everywhere, including the roof of the school. After all, schools have walls, floors and ceilings. But, is this method of remaining within a slowly decreasing budget acceptable?
Arguments for advertising
What are the advantages of what some call the “Googlization” or franchising of American schools? Proponents generally base their arguments on one particular aspect – economic or money. They state:
- Advertising money is easy cash
- The schools can control which advertising is acceptable and which is not
- Ads provide a break for teachers and parents who are faced with multiple fundraisers each school year
- They’re an alternative to cash donations from school “patrons”
- Advertisements prevent cut-backs
It is, ultimately, about saving and even making money for the school.
Arguments against advertising
Yet, not everyone thinks advertising in schools is the right thing to do. Many think this is entirely the wrong message to send to their children. Some see it as wrong for a number of reasons, including:
- Ads exploit a captive audience. Companies are buying the purchasing power of their children and, through them, their parents.
- They’re unavoidable on a day-to-day basis
- Children are vulnerable to advertising
- Schools should be about learning not commercialism
- At home, parents can control their child’s exposure to advertising. If ads are in school, they can’t.
Children are already inundated with advertising. Studies indicate middle children remember more jingles than news from watching television broadcasts. Do schools really need to add more media to students’ days? And if so, are teachers willing or able to counteract it with classes on the role that advertising in our lives?
With school districts continuing to suffer the threat of budget cuts, this may remain a solution for schools across the country. Is it a slippery slope or a necessary reality given the current state of education in America?
Photo credit: janniechien / morguefile
Promoting a company’s product or service is no light task; but with the number of tools that are available for marketing, it becomes easier. There is, however, no single perfect marketing strategy for product or service promotion. Tools that help in disseminating commercial information to the public are not fool-proof – sponsorship is no exception.
Although sponsorship has become a vital part of a company’s marketing strategy, it is not entirely faultless. With the good comes the bad, all of which business organizations should be aware of when sponsoring events, individuals, other groups, and the like.
Advantages of sponsorship
There are many benefits that come with sponsorship – both to sponsors and sponsees. With its nature as being loosely a financial support of activities, events and such – sponsorship then provides a broad opportunity of reaching goals. For sponsors, these goals generally may be part of their marketing aims, letting their name be known or commercially circulated. For sponsees, goals may include the needed equipment or financial means provided by their sponsors.
The most common recognized sponsorship advantages are discussed below:
Enhancing and/or building an image association that is positive – Companies often engage in sponsorship to be visible and to create a clear union relevance between the sponsored individual, event, or organization, and the company itself.
This aim for creating a clear association helps create appeal to the sponsor’s targeted audience, offering them a positive perception of the company name by relating with the sponsee.
Generating product and/or service awareness – Sponsorship provides a direct way for sponsors to relate with their consumers by actively supporting a sponsee that people know or follow. For example, athletes sponsored by major companies directly make the consumers (their fans) aware of the company by the sponsee’s use of the company’s name like their equipment, clothes, etc.
Building goodwill – People most often approve of sponsorship since it’s perceived that such a sponsor is willing to help out someone or something in need. This commitment that the company showcases gives people positive reactions that would make them remember the company.
Creating exclusivity – A sponsor’s ability to promote itself through supporting a sponsee generates product/service recognition to its targeted market. The targeted market than associates the sponsor’s name with the sponsee, succeeding in creating proper visibility in spite of other competitors, and therefore increase in sales.
Generate positive publicity – Anything that involves products and services need exposure for people to take notice of it. This sponsorship advantage makes use of an arena for potential consumers to always have an encounter with the sponsor’s name, leaving a mark in their minds about a specific product/service offered and specialized by the company (sponsor).
As with advantages, comes the downside. Below are most common sponsorship disadvantages:
Development of controversies leading to negative attitudes – the presence of competitors is on its own a disadvantage for sponsors. There will always be a challenger to each company to stay on top. Controversies that affect the sponsor will often lead to faltered belief from its consumers and would at most also create a negative sponsor-sponsee association.
Absence of standardization – The partnership between a company and its supported individual, organization, or event has no sure-fire way of how best to benefit the both parties. Different methods of support are applied to sponsees depending on their needs and the sponsor’s needs as well. This points out to a lack of standardization, and therefore requires more time on planning and evaluation.
More time is consumed – As sponsorship promotes a more ‘intimate’ business relationship, this also causes more time to be spent on a sponsor-sponsee plan. The amount of time needed in planning and execution is bigger since sponsorship should be very detailed.