Local Governments Sell Ads To Counter Economic Woes

Local Governments Sell Ads To Counter Economic Woes

Cash-hungry governments are selling advertising space on school buses and in other public areas to help generate revenue.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 19 april 2011

Cash-strapped and recession-weary local governments have turned to advertising in public areas for a stopgap solution to their budget woes.  Marketing consultants and government officials are collaborating on projects turning public school cafeterias, yellow school buses, and waiting rooms of public offices into prime space for advertisements. Though the expected revenue from such advertising is relatively small compared to most deficits- a district selling ads on 250 school buses could expect to earn a million dollars annually- proponents argue that it could make the difference between keeping an athletic team, or hiring a new teacher.

A handful of states are already using public space for advertising, despite opposition. Critics note that although ads for tobacco, alcohol, and anything sexual are banned, ads for junk food go unrestricted. Given the nation’s obesity epidemic, this is a cause for concern.

Also interesting is the argument that education is mandated up until a certain age in America based on the premise it is good for children. It follows that if you are requiring a child to attend school, then you are mandating a child’s exposure to certain advertising.

The New York Times: “Governments, Hungry For Money, Try Selling Ads”


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