DFGW produces Aimhigher drive

The Government is using TV advertising to accelerate its programme of encouraging more children from low-income families into university.

DFGW has produced the campaign for Aimhigher, which is directed at children in their early teens - when many are turned off study.

Media planning and buying is being handled by Rocket and MediaCom respectively.

The advertising will run across all Sky channels to reach children who are about to take their GCSEs.

The advertising is intended to reinforce the Government's contention that better qualifications translate into richer opportunities and greater earning potential.

The ads address the fantasies of fame and fortune that grip many children by showing that even if they can't achieve celebrity status, a degree can be a passport to a celebrity world. They ask: "You may be thinking about school now - but where do you see yourself in the future?"

In one sequence, a boy imagines himself taking part in a top-flight football match. As a player goes down injured it becomes clear that the boy isn't playing in the game but is working as the team's physiotherapist.

In another a boy is seen looking at a Formula 1 racing car. He isn't driving it but is seen to be in charge of the design and testing. Finally, a boy is seen in a recording studio, not as singer or musician but at a mixing desk.

The ads were written by Brendan Wilkins, art directed by Paul Hancock and directed by Simon Levine through Pink Productions.

The advertising follows the launch this year of an Aimhigher roadshow by the Department for Education & Skills. It has been touring the country to persuade pupils to think about university.

The main targets are children who are capable of studying beyond school but who have little or no previous family experience of higher education and for whom the idea of continuing their academic studies might seem alien.

Ministers say it is shocking that as many as 40 per cent of pupils from C2, D and E backgrounds hear nothing about university opportunities during their school careers.

The centerpiece of the roadshow is a documentary produced by the team behind BBC TV's Top of the Pops, which gives young people a glimpse of the careers they could enjoy with a degree.

At present the UK is well down the list of OECD nations in terms of those in the lowest socio-economic group studying beyond school. Just 14 per cent of those in that group achieve the A level grades they need.

Sally Pardon, the DFGW account manager on the business, said: "We're trying to reach these youngsters on channels we know they watch a lot. We want to target them in the most effective way we can and minimise wastage."

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