Media Smart to stir controversy

Media Smart, the advertiser-backed media literacy programme, is to send out educational materials to schools covering the controversial topics of food and toy advertising. It is believed that the new materials will include case studies focused around food and toy marketing.

After its launch in 2002 Media Smart, which includes confectionary giants Masterfoods and Cadbury Trebor Bassett as well as toy manufacturer Hasbro among its members, shied away from controversial issues. Its first educational programme was aimed at children aged between six and 11 years old and was focused around the creation of brands.

Despite regular endorsement of Media Smart by the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell, a number of key advertisers including Coca-Cola and Nestlé have still to sign up to Media Smart, which was set up to educate children on how to interpret and understand advertising.

Food, drink and toy advertisers are coming under pressure from campaigners calling for restrictions to be put in place to prevent them from advertising to children.

But at last week’s conference for the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, Jowell indicated that the Government would not be advocating a ban in any forthcoming legislation on health or food.

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