Presentation on theme: "SELLING OUT OUR SCHOOLS Gary Ruskin Commercial Alert"— Presentation transcript:
SELLING OUT OUR SCHOOLS Gary Ruskin Commercial Alert
Commercial Alert is a national nonprofit consumer and public health organization that protects children and communities from commercialism.
Disclosure Statement I have no relevant financial relationships with the manufacturer(s) of any commercial product(s) and/or provider of commercial services discussed in this CME activity. I do not intend to discuss an unapproved/investigative use of a commercial product/device in my presentation.
Today’s Agenda Why companies want to advertise in schools Latest news and controversies Why advertising shouldn’t be allowed in schools How you can remove corporate advertising and marketing from schools in your city, state and across the country
Why Companies Want to Advertise to School Children Children spend a lot of time at school School children are a captive audience “The biggest selling point to advertisers,” lies in “forcing kids to watch two minutes of commercials” -- Joel Babbit, former president of Channel One (Source: Joel Babbit, “Channel One Vision,” paper presented to the On the Youth Market conference, Boston, May 5-6, 1994.)
Why Companies Want to Advertise to School Children (continued) Advertisers use the authority of the school as a marketing tool School is good place for companies to brand children “The school system is where you build brand loyalty.” -- John Alm, president of Coca-Cola Enterprises (Source: Scott Leith, “A Lesson for Coke; Atlanta-based CCE Takes on Critics, Defends Soft-drink Sales in Schools,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 6, 2003.)
Bus Radio Bus Radio is a new startup company Installs audio equipment in school buses Show includes music, “entertainment programming,” “cartoon updates,” “oddball news wire” and PSAs” 8 minutes of ads per hour Targets grades 1-12 (that is, children as young as five years old). Promises funding to schools based on an obfuscated “formula” More information about Bus Radio available at:
Bus Radio (continued) Bus Radio claims: It “will take targeted student marketing to the next level” Advertisers will get “a unique and effective way to reach the highly sought after teen and tween market.” Ads for one movie it promoted “received recall rates in the 90% range” Source: Bus Radio’s website
Bus Radio’s Plans In the school year: 100,000 children in 800 school buses Operating in California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington Next year: 1 million children nationwide
Products Advertised on Bus Radio The WB television network and its programs (renamed the CW network) Warner Brothers movies Virgin Mobile mobile phones
Groups Opposing Bus Radio Action Coalition for Media Education Alliance for Childhood American Family Association California Center for Public Health Advocacy Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Center for a New American Dream Center for Science in the Public Interest Center for Screen-Time Awareness Children Now Concerned Women for America Commercial Alert Consumers Union Eagle Forum Global Exchange Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids Massachusetts Public Health Association MomsRising National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy National PTA Obligation, Inc. Organic Consumers Association Parents’ Action for Children Sojourners The Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Child Advocacy Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
Channel One 12+ minutes of TV programming each school day Audience: more than 7 million students Loans TV sets to schools in exchange for playing programming in classrooms Programming includes news stories, banter, quizzes, music At least two minutes of ads per show, plus other commercial messages, sales pitches, etc. Consumes a total of one full school week per school year, including one full school day just for ads More information about Channel One is available at:
Products That Have Been Advertised on Channel One Soda pop (Pepsi, Pepsi Blue, Mountain Dew) Junk food (Snickers, McDonald’s, Twinkies, Winterfresh gum) Violent & crass movies (“Starsky & Hutch,” “Monkeybone,”“Supernova,” “Rollerball,”“Dude, Where’s My Car”) (We define junk food as: foods or beverages that are relatively high in saturated or trans fat, added sugar or salt, and relatively low in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.) Source: Obligation, Inc. Video footage of Channel One commercials is at:
Smoking Class: How Schools and Channel One Promote Tobacco to Students Cinema portrayals of tobacco are highly effective in luring young people into the ranks of tobacco users – even more so than conventional advertising Adolescents who see plenty of smoking on screen are nearly three times more likely to start smoking than those who see the least It is estimated that each year smoking in movies recruits 390,000 new young smokers in the United States Sources: Madeline A. Dalton, James D. Sargent, Michael L. Beach, Linda Titus-Ernstoff, Jennifer J. Gibson, M. Bridget Ahrens, Jennifer J. Tickle, Todd F. Heatherton, “Effect of Viewing Smoking in Movies on Adolescent Smoking Initiation: A Cohort Study.” The Lancet, July 26, (9380): Stanton A. Glantz, “Smoking in Movies, A Major Problem and a Real Solution.” The Lancet, July 26, 2003;362(9380):258-9.
Smoking Class (continued) Commercial Alert studied movie ads on Channel One from 1/1/00 to 5/31/05 We identified 67 movies advertised during that period 40 of those movies (59.7%) had scenes showing smoking Report is available at:
Ads More Effective Than News on Channel One Study of 240 7th and 8th graders Students remembered an average of 3.5 ads but only 2.7 news stories Source: Erica Weintraub Austin, Yi-Chun “Yvonnes” Chen, Bruce E. Pinkleton and Jessie Quintero Johnson, “Benefits and Costs of Channel One in a Middle School Setting and the Role of Media Literacy Training.” Pediatrics 2006; 117;
Alternatives to Channel One Channel One does nothing in schools that cannot be done better, but without the commercial advertising. Many alternatives to Channel One do not require students to watch advertising: (newspaper and magazine articles, CNN Student News, etc.)
Hard Times at Channel One Losing schools and audience: from 8.3 million viewers to “more than seven million” Losing advertisers and ad revenues Three Channel One/Primedia lobbyists pled guilty in 2006 to corruption charges (including the now-infamous Jack Abramoff)
Groups Opposing Channel One American College of Preventive Medicine Action Coalition for Media Education Alliance for Childhood American Family Association California Center for Public Health Advocacy Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Center for a New American Dream Center for Science in the Public Interest Center for Screen-Time Awareness Children Now Concerned Women for America Commercial Alert Connecticut Public Health Association Consumers Union Eagle Forum Focus on the Family Global Exchange Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids Maryland Public Health Association Massachusetts Public Health Association Michigan Public Health Association MomsRising National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy New Mexico Public Health Association National PTA Obligation, Inc. Organic Consumers Association Parents’ Action for Children Sojourners Southern Baptist Convention The Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Child Advocacy Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations United Methodist Church Yale Prevention Research Center
Clinton/AHA/American Beverage Association Agreement Restricts the sale of soda pop in schools by school year Only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools Diet sodas and “sports drinks” are allowed for sale in high schools
Clinton/AHA/American Beverage Assn. Agreement (continued) Agreement is entirely voluntary Not enforceable No enforcement provisions No penalties for companies that fail to meet terms of agreement Schools not a party to agreement Agreement does not limit in-school advertising or marketing Bottom line: the agreement will likely have little, if any, effect
Clinton/AHA/Food Manufacturers Agreement Weak standards Restricts most “competitive foods” (foods sold outside school meals programs) to a limit of 35% of total calories from fat, 10% from saturated fat, and 35% for sugar content by weight.
Clinton/AHA/Food Manufacturers Agreement (continued) Agreement is entirely voluntary Not enforceable No enforcement provisions No penalties for companies that fail to meet terms of agreement Independent vendors not a party to agreement Schools not a party to agreement Agreement does not limit in-school advertising or marketing Bottom line: the agreement will likely have little, if any, effect
Enforcement of Federal Competitive Foods Rule Existing federal rules prohibit the sale of “foods of minimal nutritional value” during mealtimes in school cafeterias. Last year, Commercial Alert petitioned USDA to enforce current rules, which schools often disobey USDA refused to enforce current rules against sale of FMNVs
Other Forms of Advertising in Schools Sponsored educational materials School book covers Wall posters Ads on buses Billboards Scoreboard ads Other signage Vending machines ads Ads on in-school fast food storefronts Incentive programs (i.e. Pizza Hut’s “Book It” program) Product placement in school books Sale of naming rights to parts of schools, or even entire schools
Arguments Against Advertising to School Children 1. Improper use of the compulsory schooling laws and state power for private purposes 2. Advertising of unhealthy products harms children’s health 3. Ads in the classroom waste school time and tax dollars
Arguments Against Advertising to School Children (continued) 4. Purpose of advertising is antithetical to the purpose of education 5. Promotes the wrong values to children (i.e. materialism) 6. Corrupts the integrity of public education 7. Children should not be for sale
What Can Pediatricians Do to Help Stop Advertising to School Children? Advocate at federal, state and local levels for: Commercial-free schools Bans on Bus Radio, Channel One Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, to stop the sale and marketing of junk food in schools
Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, part 1 States, municipalities and school boards should prohibit the marketing of junk food on school property. Prohibit contracts that obligate children to watch or listen to ads for junk food on school property. An example is Channel One, an in-school TV marketing program. Prohibit display of visual advertisements for junk food in school, such as billboards, signs, posters, and logo placements. Prohibit the use of corporate-sponsored curricula featuring or promoting junk food products. Prohibit exclusive marketing (pouring rights) contracts between soda beverage companies and school districts, school food service agencies and school groups.
Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, part 2 States, municipalities and school boards should ban the sale or distribution of junk food on school property. Prohibit sale of junk food on school property, including, but not limited to, a la carte, before-school or after-school programs, concession stands or vending machines. Prohibit the distribution of junk food as a reward or prize for good behavior or exemplary performance. Prohibit distribution of free samples of junk food on school property. Amend Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices statutes and ordinances to prohibit marketing of junk food to children on school property.
Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, part 3 States, municipalities and school boards should provide financial rewards to school districts, schools and food service agencies that exceed federal nutrition guidelines and obey restrictions on the sale of junk food in schools. School districts and school food service agencies should exceed the nutritional standards of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, especially by providing plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fat-free dairy products, local and organic products, but no foods with hydrogenated vegetable shortening, and few or no fried foods. School districts and school food service agencies must strictly comply with the federal competitive foods rule.
Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda Selected Endorsers Organizations: American College of Preventive Medicine Center for a New American Dream Center for Food and Justice Center for Media Education Center for Science in the Public Interest Connecticut Public Health Association Commercial Alert Eagle Forum Maryland Public Health Association Massachusetts Public Health Association Michigan Public Health Association New Mexico Public Health Association Obligation, Inc. Organic Consumers Association Yale Prevention Research Center Individuals: Lawrence Cheskin (Director, Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center) Greg Critser (author, Fat Land) Cara B. Ebbeling (Harvard Medical School) Leon Eisenberg (Harvard Medical School) Gerald Hass (Harvard Medical School) David Katz (Yale Medical School) Frances Moore Lappe (author, Diet for a Small Planet) Marion Nestle (author, Food Politics) Alvin Poussaint (Harvard Medical School) Raffi (children’s troubadour) Eric Rimm (Harvard School of Public Health) Mary Story (U. of Minnesota) Walter Willett (Harvard School of Public Health)
Industry Professionals Are Troubled by Marketing to School Children According to a 2004 Harris poll of youth advertising and marketing professionals: only 45% “feel that today’s young people can handle advertising in schools.” 47% believe that “schools should be a protected area” and that “there should not be advertising to students on school grounds.” Source: Harris poll, April 13, 2004
Strong Public Support for Our Side According to a 2004 Yankelovich poll of American consumers: 61% feel “the amount of marketing and advertising is out of control.” 65% believe that “there should be more limits and regulations on marketing and advertising.” According to a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll: 83% of American adults believe "public schools need to do a better job of limiting children's access to unhealthy foods like snack foods, sugary soft drinks and fast food.” Sources: “Consumer Resistance to Marketing Reaches All-Time High,” Yankelovich poll, April 15, 2004; Wall Street Journal poll, February 15, 2005