We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control

>> Saturday, January 19, 2008

Boing Boing recently featured a report that kids in the Seminole County, Florida school district will be listening to ads while they ride the bus (original report here). The school district expects to share ad revenue.

Apparently this school district also decided to cover the printing costs of report card covers by approaching McDonald's for sponsorship (original story here). McDonald's obliged, and paid for report card covers for elementary school students featuring Ronald McDonald and an offer for free Happy Meals to students with excellent grades, citizenship and/or attendance. Parents complained, the covers were pulled, and McDonald's is paying for new covers. (The article in Advertising Age notes that Pizza Hut was a previous sponsor for ten years, but doesn't comment on whether or not 'Za Hut was offering food for grades.)

Oh, good grief.

I'm not particularly anti-McDonald's, or even anti-advertising. But ad-based revenue on a school bus, where the audience is literally captive? Report cards that shill for fast food? Are they kidding? I can see exactly two outcomes: the smart kids become even more cynical about "education" and the dumb kids become suckers. Great job, Florida. Thanks for raising a generation of dropouts and idiots. You do realize, don't you Florida, that if I live long enough to collect Social Security (assuming it still even exists at that point), that this generation of tools you're bringing up are going to be trying to pay for my twilight years? Working at the place that printed their report cards, no doubt.


In 1982, an old ad-man's idea of the dystopian future was that there would be vast, wall-sized video billboards all over the place
. An image that's pretty damn classy compared to the emerging reality: kids who can't get a decent education because of brain-damaged politicos and crashing budgets listening to advertising on the bus ride home and carrying it home on their end-of-semester grades. People are worried about immigration and terrorism when the whole damn country's rotting from the inside; it's like someone dying of cancer spending every resource he has on a gun and a home security system.

Doomed, I say.


Eric Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:49:00 PM EST  

I'm not sure anyone noticed, but a mistake in the first sentence has been corrected: per the school board's plans, kids in the district will be listening to ads on the bus. Which, I agree, is creepy and wrong.

Wellsian,  Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 1:22:00 PM EST  

Dream-mercials, they're just a step away!

Jeri Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:40:00 PM EST  

Well, they can offer happy meals to grade school students with great grades - and job applications to high school seniors with poor grades. :P

Because, you know, nothing says career aspirations like a full time McD's job.

(BTW - I've seen your comments on other Whateverites' blogs and followed the link. Hi!)

Eric Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:06:00 AM EST  

Hi, Jeri! Hope I'm occasionally interesting enough for you to keep dropping in now and then!

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