Do corporate brands have a place in the classroom?

Renault's 'Tales from the Glovebox' schools programme, which launched last week, has highlighted the question of whether it is appropriate to advertise to children in their place of education

Martine Ainsworth-Wells, marketing director, VisitLondon


The classroom is a place for academic education, not a commercial brand education. There are plenty of channels for this type of product activation. My concern is that, if there is room in the classroom for commercial brand activity, what else is being sacrificed?

Tesco's 'Computers for schools' programme provides tools for children to get a better education, and cleverly fills a gap that the education system did not have the resources for. Furthermore, the supermarket is not in the school, but one step removed.

Renault's activity does not feel like it has the same credibility. In admitting that it wants to communicate with its 'future drivers', rather than prior-itising helping schoolchildren or filling a gap that the system cannot, it leaves the programme open to question as to whether there is any genuine social-responsibility at play here.

The product fit isn't tangible enough, in my view, and the genuine educational benefit for kids needs to be more convincing.

Alan Giles, chairman, Fat Face


Renault's initiative is about as altruistic and slow-burn as any commercial sponsorship gets, and should be unreservedly welcomed.

Nothing in schools can be more important than encouraging children to read books, and hats off to Renault for funding the scheme (albeit that the budget can't be much more than a rounding error compared with last season's ill-fated F1 spend).

As education budgets are slashed, we will see many more instances of commercial enterprises attempting to fill the vacuum. However, there are significant moral and reputational risks for brands tempted to associate themselves with activities more closely allied to their short-term commercial interests. Any whiff of using the classroom to leverage pester power could create outrage.

In contrast, Renault's scheme is responsible, well-judged and fits firmly in the box labelled 'putting something back into society', providing a faint warm glow about the brand among employees, parents and teachers.


Clare Field, marketing director, Aunt Bessie's


If my teenage daughter and son are anything to go by, there is no stopping this happening anyway.

Schoolchildren are some of today's most marketing-savvy consumers, so I see it as advantageous to include brands in the classroom, as long as this is done in the right way.

We bemoan the fact that schools aren't better in terms of career advice, although thankfully we have moved on from the days when boys dreamed of being farmers, and girls nurses. Why not also accept that we have moved on from the times when education was solely about the 'Three Rs' and embrace the fact that education is also about being world-aware ?

I firmly believe that my main responsibility as a parent is to bring up my children to be independent of their parents as soon as they are able, and equip them to make their own way.

Surely giving them more relevant information about the world around them can only be good.

Troy Warfield, vice-president of family care, Europe, Kimberly-Clark


As a father of three, two of whom are of school age, I think it depends.

The education of our children should be completely unbiased and unswayed by commercial endeavour. However, many schools are facing resource shortages. If brands can be educational and prioritise learning over commercial gain, they can be relevant.

Programmes such as those that provide computers, books, sporting equipment, or education on health and hygiene can provide invaluable resources and material that may not otherwise be forthcoming.

The usefulness or relevance of the brand needs to be cognisant of being aligned to the educational curriculum, and not a distraction to the teachers.  A definite no would go to brands that in any way are harmful, exploitative, irrelevant, or are trying to improve the perception of their brand, as opposed to their true reality.




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