You apparently can’t toss a brick without hitting an entity that is facing a budget shortfall these days, and in many jurisdictions, public school systems are certainly high on the list scraping for cash. That has led one school system to start selling ads on report cards.
According to a Washington Post report, the jurisdiction is Jefferson County in Colorado. It has sold two-inch displays to a different government entity, Collegeinvest, which seeks to enroll parents in savings programs designed to fund their children’s eventual matriculation at a college or university.
The parents of elementary school children are the perfect audience for the service, and the report card ad targets them with precision and is tagged to the most compelling of all messages delivered by the school system.
According to the article, the amount of the buy is not going to drain the life out of local advertising-based businesses – the total take for the school system is only $90K over the course of a three-year contract.
However, some are concerned that this could be a slippery slope. In fact, an earlier attempt to do something similar in Florida was shot down by parents and watchdogs. It had offered free McDonald’s meals to children with a certain level of academic achievement in a deal which many felt crossed a line and which was abandoned.
RBR-TVBR observation: This may seem innocuous enough, but it is one more fork diving into the ad revenue pie. Governments can require more self-funding from non-profit entities, but it will almost always come at a cost to businesses that are already struggling to remain healthy in their own right.