Media Smart hunts retailer for ‘community’ initiative

Media Smart, the Government-backed media literacy programme, is seeking to sign up a major retailer to help it develop the scheme at local community level. The scheme has already signed up Italian confectionery giant Ferrero.

Media Smart, the Government-backed media literacy programme, is seeking to sign up a major retailer to help it develop the scheme at local community level. The scheme has already signed up Italian confectionery giant Ferrero.

A variety of different companies are understood to be in talks about potential membership of the scheme, and chairman Paul Jackson says he is “always talking to people but these things take time”. Jackson says he would like the literacy scheme to feel more representative of advertising as a whole rather than a narrow band of companies. Existing members include Cadbury, Mars, Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

Media Smart was launched in November 2002 and provides about 10,000 schools with materials to help teach children about marketing and advertising. These are provided by the sponsors and academics, and devised by a board including broadcast watchdog Ofcom, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the European Commission.

Ferrero, which makes products for younger children under its Kinder brand, joins Media Smart as pressure grows on snack food and drinks advertisers to stop targeting children. Ofcom is carrying out a consultation on plans to restrict advertising of such products during children’s programming.

Jackson adds that Ferrero’s support is important because it is a pan-European company. Media Smart has a presence in Holland, Belgium and Germany and is in talks to launch in the Scandinavian countries, Hungary and Poland.

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