When yellow school buses start rolling down neighborhood streets next week, residents might see a local insurance agent waving to them from the window — via an advertisement. Advertising seems to be everywhere these days — in the margins of Facebook, on the walls of moving billboards, in the wells of urinals (Disturbing? Yes.) and now, on the sides of school buses.
For almost a year, Dallas County school districts, including Dallas ISD, have participated in a program run by Alpha Media that offers school bus advertising to local and national businesses. Here’s how it works: Companies purchase one ad per bus, which is placed above the windows on either side of the bus or below the windows on the driver’s side, and school districts receive 66 percent of revenue from ad sales.
“It is a true win-win for all involved,” says Michael Beauchamp, president and CEO of Alpha Media.
The average ad rate is $230 a month per bus, Beauchamp says. Advertisers tell Alpha Media the areas they want to target, and “we find out which buses hit that area and place their ads on those buses,” he says. There’s no way to support an individual school, however; the 66 percent ad revenue goes directly to the school district.
A majority of the advertisers so far are dentists, banks, restaurants, real estate agents, homebuilders, colleges and universities, insurance agents and car dealers — a list Beauchamp believes will only grow longer.
“We started with mainly local businesses who wanted 10 to 15 ads,” he says. “Now, we are seeing larger advertisers coming on board wanting 100 or more.”
The program has been so successful, Beauchamp says, that he foresees advertisements on every school bus someday, “especially with the larger corporations coming on board,” he says.