If you’ve lived, worked or visited anywhere in Oklahoma over the past couple of months, there’s a good chance you’ve probably seen or heard an ad for Epic Charter Schools. It’s the scammy online public school that seems to be more concerned about making money for its founders than educating Oklahoma students.
The reason you’re hearing and seeing all these ads is because the school – which, friendly reminder, is funded by taxpayers – has spent $2.5 million in local advertising. In case you’re wondering, even David Stanley Chevrolet thinks that’s a lot of money.
Via The Tulsa World:
Turn on the television or radio, get online or even go to a shopping mall and you’re likely to see ads and promotions for the state’s largest virtual school, Epic Charter Schools.
How much is this back-to-school advertising blitz costing? Nearly $2.5 million.
And sponsoring children’s play areas inside Tulsa’s Woodland Hills Mall and Oklahoma City’s Penn Square Mall through multiyear leases with the malls’ owner adds up to $105,000 in costs per year.
Advertising and marketing efforts to children, parents and potential new hires has persisted even amid new public revelations about the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s probe into allegations of embezzlement, obtaining money by false pretenses, racketeering and forgery at Epic.
Yeah, nothing to see here. We just have a public school that’s being investigated by OSBI spending $2.5-million in advertising. In this day and age, when school’s are rolling in cash, and paying teachers six-figure salaries to educate their students in state-of-the-art facilities with only the newest textbooks, that’s totally normal and not in any way suspicious.
A full spending breakdown on Epic’s advertising and marketing by outlet was requested, but school officials said one wasn’t immediately available.
Epic is using its public funds from two fiscal years and a third-party “media buyer” to spend $2.4 million over 12 weeks to promote the state’s largest virtual school on TV, radio and social media, a school spokeswoman said.
I asked around the Ogle Mole Network to see who the third-party media buyer is. One name I heard was Rollins Communications out of Tulsa. If you’re a scammy charter school operator looking to make some money, give them a call today!
For what it’s worth, I didn’t want to identify the media buyer just so we could shame them for being liable and complicit in helping an online school fleece taxpayers of money. If you ask me, the radio, TV and print media outlets who happily took Epic’s ad dollars all while branding themselves as being reputable, trustworthy organizations that look out for Oklahomans deserve even more blame. But who cares – Oklahoma Standard, Y’all!!
In all honesty, I wanted to know who the media buyer is so that we can maybe get paid for making Epic Charter Schools a presenting sponsor of a recent episode of The Lost Ogle Show:
— The Lost Ogle (@TheLostOgle) September 4, 2019
See? That’s at least worth .004% (a.k.a. $10,000) of Epic’s ad budget, right?
Here’s more about Epic’s advertising model.
$1.58 million [was] designated solely for television ads and an Epic-sponsored football ticket promotion with the University of Oklahoma that circulated on social media called “Here’s to Teachers.”
In addition to the $2.4 million media buy, $72,600 is budgeted for sponsored content in print outlets, including “sponsored features” on the Tulsa World’s website and “BrandInsight” pieces in The Oklahoman, according to Epic. Sponsored content, which is also commonly referred to as advertorial content, is written and paid for by the advertiser in a format that matches the form and function of the publication.
They spent $72,000 for sponsored content in newspapers? Normally that would be laughable, but I guess they were targeting custodial grandparents. Since we have so many moms and dads in prison, it’s one of our state’s fastest growing demographics!
Also, I like how Epic is working with OU. It’s neat to see the scammy local online charter school that screws taxpayers, educates ghost students and pays its executives absurd salaries is working with the University that screws taxpayers, fudges its numbers and pays its executives absurd salaries to help recruit more ghost students. They’re perfect bedfellows! Epic’s next step should be to create an online football program for OU football recruits who are struggling to qualify.