European Commission to open schools to advertisers

- 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.

A EC-funded study has suggested that head teachers should be allowed to authorise a limited amout 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 that 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. Advertisers have shown no enthusiasm for a scheme proposed by the Essex-based Imagination for School Media Marketing and subject to a number of false starts since it was first mooted almost three years ago.


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