Media: Double Standards - Ads 'relevant, responsible and of value' to kids

There is surely no sector of society as impressionable as teenagers. Where better, therefore, to advertise than in schools? We meet two industry figures doing exactly that.

ALAN SCURFIELD - MANAGING PARTNER, TEN NINE

- How big is the market for advertising in schools?

We made an ethical decision to have no involvement with primary schools, so mine is a partial view. Our secondary schools market is fledgling, with lots of clients waiting for others to make a more direct statement than the ubiquitous "teachers' pack". The potential for increase is significant, and Ten Nine has doubled revenues year on year since we started.

- What are the factors that might help this market grow in the future?

The leading political parties are united behind a forward-looking education policy. Schools seeking specialist status and city academies all seek outside sponsorship, leading to a closer link between industry and education. Add to this the increased educational focus on practical experience for children aged 14 and over, and you can begin to understand the change afoot. Real growth will come as more clients grasp the new education zeitgeist.

- Are there restrictions on the types of brands/advertisers you can carry and/or do you impose your own guidelines?

We adhere to the Committee of Advertising Practice codes of practice, and there are relatively few advertisers that we wouldn't speak to, but more messages that we wouldn't currently entertain. We work closely with our members, who have right of veto, liaising with them about proposed messages. When choosing Ten Nine, advertisers know their message has been welcomed by the schools.

- What formats do you offer for advertisers?

The core of the business is six-sheets nationally. We also offer experiential marketing. Leaflets/postcards can be delivered to hand by teaching staff.

- Has the whole debate over the "junk food" advertising broadcast ban had a knock-on effect on your business at all?

No. We wouldn't take junk-food advertising anyway. Encouragingly, food/drink advertisers have reacted to the increasing demand for healthier alternatives, and more new products are being launched that are more suitable for our environment.

- What do schools/children gain from carrying advertising in their buildings?

The obvious answer is the schools gain some welcome additional funding and students gain exposure to suitable messages. Less obviously, we bring a new dimension to the school set-piece. Imagine how well received the healthy-eating posters were for the British Heart Foundation, by PSHE (personal, social, health and education) co-ordinators, who have to work with the aims of "Every child matters" and to achieve Healthy School Status.

- Which advertisers have you worked with?

Nike, 20th Century Fox, BBC, Paramount, HarperCollins, Norwich Union, Transport for London and numerous UK universities, as well as COI and Scottish Executive activity.

- What's the most interesting campaign you've carried recently?

"Teenage pregnancy" for the Department for Education and Skills/COI. A courageous planning agency (Naked) and Posterscope urged a direct statement on secondary school six-sheets nationwide, and the client was prepared to air the message to students aged 11 and over. Research suggests that their commitment was well founded.

- How have schools changed since your day?

Teachers don't throw chalk anymore!

- What was your favourite ad campaign when you were at school?

The PG Tips chimps.

MARTIN SMITH - MANAGING DIRECTOR, BOOMERANG MEDIA

- How big is the market for advertising in schools?

It is difficult to accurately estimate, as in addition to national media owners operating in schools, quite a few clients are running sponsorship programmes and initiatives directly with schools, as well as local activity.

- What are the factors that might help this market grow in the future?

There's a continued need to educate clients and schools on the importance of this market and on ways to responsibly and ethically advertise within it. Advertisers need to understand the media opportunities available within schools and how teenagers consume media away from their TV or computer screen. It's about communicating and engaging with teenagers at various levels. Focus groups we run with schools help to give us insight on this.

- Are there restrictions on the types of brands/advertisers you can carry and/or do you impose your own guidelines?

Many advertisers have their own regulations on advertising to the under-16s. Boomerang has a collaborative approach, working with schools to ensure that campaigns are relevant, responsible and of value. Previous campaigns and editorial cards discuss the issues surrounding drug use, sexual health, bullying and internet safety. Schools have final right of veto.

- What formats do you offer for advertisers?

Postcard media, sampling and school diaries.

- Has the whole debate over the "junk food" advertising broadcast ban had a knock-on effect on your business at all?

No. We would not promote these sectors within schools. Although it has heightened the need for responsibility among sectors to promote positive messages, which can only be a good thing.

- What do schools/children gain from carrying advertising in their buildings?

With postcards, we are committed to balancing commercial offerings with editorial cards. Tied into the national curriculum, these provide useful, fun teaching aids, helping schools educate on issues from social and health education to science and English, and are popular with pupils and teachers alike. On the diary side, the advertising within them helps reduce the cost of diaries to schools. So good news for schools.

- Which advertisers have you worked with?

The FA, Atari, Activision, the BBC, BVI, five, Letts, BMG, the Government, HarperCollins, Nike, Revlon, Transport for London, Turner, UIP, Umbro, Virgin Records, Sega.

- What's the most interesting campaign you've carried recently?

Schools signed up to receive Revlon Charlie samples, which was effectively linked into their PSHE and PE classes, while coupon cards were distributed through postcard racks.

- How have schools changed since your day?

Libraries have changed massively. Now called learning resource centres, they feature IT and resource facilities. Pupils can now go online, read broadsheets and even rent CDs and DVDs.

- What was your favourite ad campaign when you were at school?

Kevin Keegan's " be smart, be safe" Green Cross Code campaign. It even featured recently within a set of postcards to mark COI's 60th anniversary!