The advertising industry is set to shun a proposed scheme to bring ads
into the nation’s schools.
Teachers, parents, consumer groups and the Labour Party reacted with
outrage to reports that the Government will allow schools to raise money
by selling ad space in classrooms and corridors.
Nigel Griffiths, Labour’s consumer affairs spokesman, immediately called
on the Advertising Standards Authority to scupper the plan. Meanwhile,
consumer groups expressed fear that the UK could follow the lead of some
US schools, where schools broadcasting combines educational programmes
with commercial messages.
The US operation of Saatchi and Saatchi is among the agencies that use
the medium to advertise cereal products for its General Mills client.
But Lionel Stanbrook, the political affairs director of the Advertising
Association, forecast that the scheme would be stillborn.
‘The teaching environment and commercial advertising aren’t a good fit,’
he said. ‘My instinct tells me big brands will never be involved in
Jennifer Laing, the Saatchis UK chairman, said: ‘You’d need a code of
conduct that would be impossible to write. It’s an attractive
proposition for marketers, but it would probably backfire.’
The ASA said it had no power to prevent the scheme going ahead, although
any ads running in schools would have to conform to its rules.
The plan has been touted to more than 5,000 secondary schools, colleges
and universities by Imagination for School Media Marketing, a
Colchester-based company, which is offering schools the chance to swell
their funds by renting their wall-space.
The company claims that up to 700 schools have shown an interest in
earning pounds 1,740 a year for displaying a minimum of 25 posters.