Thanks to you, Scholastic is significantly scaling back its InSchool Marketing Division. Now we’ve set our sights on the most insidious in-school advertiser of all: Channel One News. For more than 20 years, Channel One News has forced students to watch a 12-minute daily “newscast” (many of the stories are actually fluff pieces promoting music or movies) that includes 2 minutes of commercials. Schools showing Channel One lose a full week of instructional time each school year to the broadcasts. A full day is lost to just to the commercials.
That’s why we’re launching “School’s Out for Channel One,” a new campaign to urge schools and advertisers to stop aiding and abetting Channel One’s exploitation of students. Our first target? Kmart, which is advertising its back-to-school clothing lines on Channel One this fall.
As if forcing students to watch TV commercials in school isn’t bad enough, Kmart will be using its in-school ads to promote “First Day 2,” a web-based series created by the retailer to promote back-to-school clothing. Kmart clothes are featured prominently on cast members throughout the series, and each time new outfits appear, viewers are urged to click through to the Kmart website to buy them. In other words, Kmart is usurping school time, paid for by your tax dollars, to advertise its own advertising to a captive audience of schoolchildren.
If we convince Kmart to pull its ads—and demonstrate that advertising on Channel One is bad for business—other brands are sure to take notice. And we know that Kmart and its parent company Sears respond to public pressure. Earlier this summer, outraged parents forced Sears’ Lands’ End pull a highly sexualized ad from its online back-to-school catalog.
Channel One is more vulnerable than ever before. Since 2003, the network has lost more than a third of its 12,000 schools and other schools are openly violating their contract by showing the broadcast before or after school. That’s why it’s so important to send a strong message to Channel One’s advertisers right now.
So let’s tell Kmart: Stop using our taxpayer-funded class time to advertise infomercials to kids. And with your help, this coming school year will be the last one that schoolchildren are force-fed Channel One.