One of the LAUSD's trucks that the school district is using in its advertising program. Jennie-O is running an ad campaign as part of this program.

One of the LAUSD's trucks that the school district is using in its advertising program. Jennie-O is running an ad campaign as part of this program.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has started an advertising program on its non-school bus fleet of vehicles to bring in additional revenue. Government Fleet interviewed Gifty Beets, Project Management Administrator for the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, about how LAUSD structured the program and how it will benefit the District.

LAUSD is rolling out the advertising program on 400 vehicles out of a total of 550 non-school-bus vehicles (advertising on school buses is prohibited by law in California). These vehicles include light trucks, maintenance trucks, mail vans, freight trailers, refrigerated trailers and cargo vans, according to Beets. As for why, LAUSD is facing a large budget shortfall and has been looking for ways to bring in revenue to support programs for students and its operations in this tough fiscal environment.

“LAUSD has been seeking opportunities to keep money in the classroom and looking to other revenue sources, including various levels of sponsorships,” Beets explained. “The District has decided, as a whole, to look at its assets (including, but not limited, to the white fleet) and leverage them to interested corporate partners.”

To implement the program, LAUSD is working with a company called Alpha Media. Alpha Media will sell advertising space, install the advertising graphics on the vehicles, and manage the overall program. The company receives 25% of the revenue generated, according to Beets, with the rest going to the District. The contract period is initially three years but has an option for LAUSD to extend the contract for two additional years. The length of specific campaigns depends on individual advertisers who choose to participate in the program.

LAUSD is projecting initial revenue per vehicle of $2,100, which will generate more than $4,000,000 over a five-year period. The District plans to use income from this program to support the Athletic Transportation program, which has been operating under a budget cut by $650,000 per year for the last two years. Beets said participating fleet departments can also reserve a percentage from the program’s proceeds to support vehicle replacement costs.

The initial advertisers participating in the program include the California Credit Union and Jennie-O (which sells turkey products). Beets said the District will receive approximately $61,000 as part of the contract with the credit union and $96,000 from the contract with Jennie-O.

Given that these vehicles are owned by LAUSD, and the District wants to project a certain image, LAUSD retains approval rights over all advertising materials. The approval process for each ad campaign involves bringing together individuals from various departments in a committee to vote. As long as 75% of the members agree, the ad program will run. The District also has a set of sponsorship guidelines, which it uses as criteria for any ads the committee reviews.

There are no up-front or ongoing costs for the program save ensuring vehicles are available to provide services in the District and travel routes that meet advertiser needs. The District stated it optimized vehicle routes in order to satisfy both requirements.

Vehicles that will feature advertising include those from LAUSD’s Food Services Division, Facilities Division, and Procurement Services Division. Each division supports the use of their vehicles in the program, Beets told Government Fleet.

By Greg Basich