Pending its legislative fate, a bill could allow New Jersey school districts to raise money by selling advertising space on school buses.
It has been proposed that the school districts would put half of the money generated from the advertising toward transportation costs and the other half toward any other areas school district officials saw fit. This funding could help school districts restore losses incurred by aid reduction, such as cuts in staff and programs.
On the other hand, advertising on school buses directly undermines the efforts of organizations such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), which strives to end the commercialization of childhood. The school boards plan to approve the age-appropriateness of the ads, but there is more to be considered than content.
One of the issues addressed by CCFC is “Marketing without Borders,” the attempts of marketers to infiltrate all aspects of children’s lives with brands. Advertising on school buses would be one more way for marketers to gain access to the impressionable minds of children.
Marketers could benefit from school bus advertisements by using the opportunity to reach a demographic of children living in a specific area. Financially strapped school districts could use school bus advertisements to help revive their budgets. But how ethical is advertising on school buses?