This happens more in small businesses in smaller markets, but I’ve seen examples of it everywhere.
“We’re doing a special section this week to highlight the boy’s basketball team trip to the state tournament. Will you support the team?”
Ask the salesperson how buying a miniscule 3×3 ad will help the kids. The answer is…that it doesn’t. Your money goes to the owner of the media outlet and a commission for the salesperson. The cash never even gets near the kids.
Not only are you being duped by the salesperson into believing you’re helping the kids…but you’re wasting your marketing funds.
“WILL YOU HELP THE KIDS?” is the the rallying cry of salespeople who don’t know how to sell the merits (if there are any) of their media.
I do think a responsible business should support local charities, schools, and other philanthropic ventures. But give the money directly to the organization and be careful not to confuse these donations as marketing.