Certain advertising can run in schools, EC study concludes

The European Commission is ready to open the gates of the Continent’s schools to advertisers.

The European Commission is ready to open the gates of the

Continent’s schools to advertisers.



An EC-funded study has suggested that head teachers should be allowed to

authorise a limited amount of advertising, particularly sponsored

learning materials, into schools.



Carefully selected advertising would help bridge the gap between schools

and the commercial world, according to the report which was based on

surveys carried out in Britain, France and Belgium.



The study provoked alarm among industry lobbyists when it was launched

last year amid fears it would be used as an excuse for further

restrictions on marketing to children. The EC probe included poster

sites, sponsored materials, vending machines, audio-visual aids,

sponsored company visits and other means of introducing products into

classrooms. It is being seen as the precursor to a European code of

practice to regulate sponsorship in schools.



Ad industry representatives, concerned about the close relationship

between EC policy makers and special interest groups, had been worried

the survey would provide ammunition for those urging tougher

restrictions on ads directed at children.



In Britain, attempts to introduce advertising into schools have so far

met with little success and advertisers have shown no enthusiasm for a

scheme proposed by the Essex-based Imagination for School Media

Marketing.



Andrew Brown, the Advertising Association’s director-general, insisted

it was too early to know if the study’s recommendation signalled a

softening of attitudes about advertising to children.



’We can draw a crumb of comfort from it ,’ he said. ’Our view is that

advertising should only be allowed in schools as long as parents,

teachers and governors are happy about it.’



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