NEWS: AA reassures MPs on ads in schools

The Advertising Association has written to both the Labour and Conservative Parties in a bid to extricate the ad industry from the damaging row over proposals to allow advertising into schools.

The Advertising Association has written to both the Labour and

Conservative Parties in a bid to extricate the ad industry from the

damaging row over proposals to allow advertising into schools.



In letters to Cheryl Gillan, the junior education minister, and Nigel

Griffiths, Labour’s consumer affairs spokesman, Andrew Brown, the

Advertising Association’s director-general, makes it clear that the plan

is not an industry initiative. The industry neither wants nor needs such

a scheme, he tells them.



Brown’s action follows consultations with a number of the AA’s members,

including the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the

Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and various poster

contractors, all of whom have come out against the idea.



The issue came under the national spotlight last week with the news that

an Essex-based marketing company was approaching secondary schools,

colleges and universities offering them the chance to make money by

selling ad space in classrooms and corridors (Campaign, 12 July).



The disclosure provoked an outcry from teaching unions, parent and

consumer groups, while Griffiths urged the Advertising Standards

Authority to take action.



Now ad industry leaders are alarmed that they have been cast as the

villains in the backlash against the idea.



Brown said: ‘I wanted to correct the impression that the industry is

pressing for it. The responsibility for commercial activity within

schools must rest with head teachers, governors and parents and we

wouldn’t wish to do anything to undermine them.’



He is also pressing Gillan to clarify the Government’s position on

whether or not schools should be allowed to accept advertising.



Meanwhile, mystery surrounds Imagination for School Media Marketing, the

company whose activities sparked the row. The AA says its efforts to

track down the company have failed and its name appears on no membership

lists of any of its affiliated organisations.



Feature, p26



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