Advertising in Schools

Corporate-sponsored TV newscasts and commercialized radio on school buses.  McLibraries, Coca Cola vending machines, and milk cartons sporting ads.  Math lessons courtesy of Pokémon, and sports fields named after Rust-Oleum.  Marketers love to target students in schools. Where else can they find a captive audience?  As one corporate executive put it, "The advertiser gets kids who cannot go to the bathroom, cannot change the station, who cannot listen to their mother yell in the background, who cannot be playing Nintendo."

Schools turn to marketers to alleviate financial woes, but many marketing activities generate little, if any, revenue.  And the cost is high for students, schools, and society.   Students are harmed when schools promote corporate profits at the expense of children's health and wellbeing.

Schools should be a haven from commercialism.  Marketing undermines critical thinking and derails public education's most important mission-helping children become active, thinking participants in a democratic society.  Schools can either educate students to become good citizens or train them to become passive consumers.  They can't do both.

Did you know?

  • A full week of teaching time is lost to Channel One every year; one day per year is lost just to the ads.
  • To earn a $300 digital camcorder for their school from Campbell's popular label redemption program, parents would have to spend $33,000 on soup.
  • Over 5,000 people joined CCFC's successful effort to stop Scholastic, Inc. from marketing the highly sexualized Bratz brand in schools.

Get more facts.