In most cases, schools have engaged in marketing strategies and practices with the intension of getting funds for their activities and programs that encounter budgetary deficits. These marketing practices have adversely affected the moral behaviors of children and the way they relate with others in the society. There are a number of cases where children have emulated and adapted these advertised products thereby posing insecurity to their looks and lifestyles. This paper therefore discusses the ethics of allowing advertising in schools. It also highlights the benefits and draw backs of advertising products within schools. Moreover, it discusses alternative marketing practices which are ethical and could help schools in raising money.
According to Boninger & Mathics (2011), marketing in schools has been a widespread phenomenon in which schools make and sign contracts with certain businesses in order to conduct their marketing activities within school premises. Such phenomena have widely resulted from the need for schools to generate extra money to meet their budget deficit. This has made schools to integrate; commercialized messages within their curriculum, entertainment activities, and communication strategies in return to corporation’s sponsorship.
Advertising in Schools
As pointed out by Molnar, Sheldon & Boninger (2010), advertising in schools has targeted children of younger ages thereby influencing their self-images and adding them unnecessary pressure in life. They note that marketing in schools has lured children into commercially-driven prospects that have adversely affected their lifestyles and physical looks. Report findings presented by the National Education Policy Center indicated that most of the schools that allowed the advertisement of certain products in schools instilled some bad behavioral characteristics among their pupils.
For instance, the advertisement of body lotion and slimming products to pupils in America triggered the desire of girls of as young as five years old to own thinner bodies. Children of this age are not consistent in distinguishing school programs from commercial content. They thus emulate them blindly. Advertising in schools should therefore consider at least the adolescents who are able to not only recognize the persuasiveness of commercialized products, but also understand the advertising messages.
According to Cohen (2009), direct advertising through video streaming, and indirect advertising via corporate sponsored education resources within schools have benefitted most companies. He points out that companies that engage in school-based corporate advertisement have gained positive publicity regarding their contribution towards education which, in fact, could not be true. They only make the locals to be attracted to their products with the aim of increasing their sales.
Additionally, Cohen (2009) points out that advertising of products within schools helps in increasing brand recognition for a particular product. This is because, as they continuously come into contact with the products of these companies; parents, teachers, and students have their purchasing power as well as preference towards the products increased. Cohen notes that this had occurred in the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2006 when the students actively remembered products advertised within their schools and developed increased interest towards the products.
However, advertising within schools exploits the children by making them to buy things they do not need. Molnar, Sheldon & Boninger (2010) point out that lack of understanding on the nature of the persuasiveness created by advertisement in schools by children presents educational institutions as trading centers rather than learning premises. This results into poor quality education standards and thus posing a challenge to children’s future. Molnar, Sheldon & Boninger (2010) thus advise that the stakeholders should come together in developing products that are not only important for children, but those that can also enhance their education.
As pointed out by Boninger & Mathics (2011), schools should create a charter for school fundraising programs. Such programs would not only create marketing materials, but would also help develop systems that agitate for more sponsorships and donations while taking into account the immediate and future needs of children. For example, a price tag would be placed for the student who is able to collect more cash register receipt by contesting in reading certain number of books. Moreover, schools should sign up multi-year contracts with companies that are able to give them incentives on advertising and selling their products within school premises. Boninger & Mathics (2011) identified a similar case in which some New York schools were able to raise to the tune of more than $3 per student after signing multi-year contract with Coca cola Company.
In conclusion, advertising in school is an essential phenomenon that if properly executed can generate funds which can help in bridging the budgetary gaps for schools. Therefore, there is need for stakeholders to come up with effective marketing practices that do not negatively affect children’s moral behaviors.