The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) is set to overhaul its guidelines for companies marketing in schools following the ban on junk food vending announced by the Government.
ISBA and its partners are under pressure to speed up the release of a revised code covering the wider issue of advertising to pupils in the wake of education secretary Ruth Kelly’s crackdown on branded food and drinks being sold in schools.
ISBA, the Consumers’ Association and the Department for Education and Employment (now the Department for Education and Skills) launched Best Practice Principles for Commercial Activities in Schools in 2001.
But Sheena Horgan, a founder of Kids Inc, an agency dedicated to marketing to children (MW July 7), warns: “Brands want to get involved in education, but are reticent because of potential bad press. A more robust and practical set of guidelines, created from consultation with all the key stakeholders, is required for the changing consumer environment.”
ISBA confirms: “We are aware of the issues and the idea of a review has been mooted. The original guidelines don’t touch on obesity. However, the main focus would be all commercial activity in schools – obesity is just one part of it.”
COI Communications recommends that each school sets its own agenda on the issue. Guidance on its website reads: “Acceptance of advertising, by any method, and the decision regarding what can be advertised, is at the discretion of the head teacher and the board of governors.”