Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pandora's Ads

Advertising is evil, insipid, immoral and its practitioners are charlatans of the worst order. At least according to most public educators and the hand-wringers at organizations like the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. That is, of course, until they need the money.

With all the budget woes facing school districts across the country, the once holier than thou are now going out with hat in hand to keep many important programs alive.

Schools need the money. Their budgets across the country have been crushed by falling property values and declining funding from state and federal sources. It only makes sense that they look to private sources for sponsorship support.

So those in power soften their positions yet still make bold pronouncements to demonstrate their superiority to the peddlers of capitalism in the advertising community.

A case in point, the L.A. school district is open to selling ad space on lunch trays or giving out free samples of "approved food products" to the kids. But to show how tough they are, they've said won't sell advertising for liquor, tobacco, firearms or high fat and calorie foods. This is both laughable and sad at the same time.

Of course you're not going to put a Captain Morgan banner in the gym. And Winchester won't become the official starting gun for track and field events.

And what about those high fat foods? If McDonald's wants to advertise their salad menu is that okay, even though most kids will buy burgers when they walk in the door? What about Pepsi? Sure their cola is full of calories, but they produce a lot of healthy drink options.

Hard times force people to make hard choices. If putting a few ads in schools means that music is still played, the sports teams get to compete, the classrooms get new textbooks, and the facilities are kept from crumbling. Then go for it.

Clearly, based the way people have voted over the last couple of elections, that's what our society wants.

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