Brands rule in the classroom

I was interested in your feature on advertising in the classroom (“Time to get strict on classroom marketing”, MW February 24).

We agree with David Benady that “the public is in general supportive of brands playing a part in the educational system”. In fact, they are positively keen on the idea.

We conducted some Real World Qualitative Research Groups last summer to explore the issue of advertising to children in schools, as part of our research programme to keep in touch with the concerns of consumers in the real world. We found that most ABC1 mothers are so pessimistic about the state of funding in schools that their tolerance for branded involvement is extremely high.

Even when the idea of a whole school being sponsored within the state system was raised, most respondents said they didn’t care where the money came from, but that something must be done about funding in schools.

The mothers with young children that we spoke to felt strongly that there should be clear boundaries governing how far advertisers would go – but their anxiety about proper education for their children and the high cost of private education indicated a desperation which would allow brands to play an even greater role in education.

While some categories of advertising were clearly off limits – cigarettes and alcohol – the consensus among the mothers was in favour of advertising in schools. One woman even commented: “Where they get the money from is irrelevant, as long as it’s not Colombian drug dealers.”

At the moment, blatant commercialism is not parents’ main concern – lack of books is.

Sue Unerman

Director of strategic solutions

MediaCom TWB

London NW1

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