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Advertising to Children

Too cool for school?

At the ripe old age of 11, I decided that the fastest way to manly cool was the futuristic brushed metal and black packaging of the newly launched Lambert & Butler cigarettes.

Don’t mock; it was 1978.  In a time when Roger Moore somehow got away with playing James Bond, electro-pop meant the Electric Light Orchestra and fashionable men had centre partings, it wasn’t just my idea of cool pre-teen rebellion that was a bit misplaced.  And I really needed to rebel, because my mum wouldn’t let me see Grease.
Cool may have moved on – or even gone full circle – but the reasons teenagers take up smoking are still pretty much the same.  It’s cool, and it’s for adults only.

Advertising Association prepares “Children’s Ethical Communications Kit”

What a truly sensible initiative from the Advertising Association (AA) in looking to launch an online service to help companies develop responsible products and campaigns which target children. Debate regarding advertising and marketing to children is so often geared to a strain of Pavlov’s dogs, knee jerk reaction which says simply that it is all wrong.  What is said and written is usually well intentioned but also way too simplistic; you have to keep an eye on the baby when you empty that bathwater!

Insider trading

The recent article in the Daily Mail about secret teenage brand ambassadors is a good example of how not to go about youth media.  It looks at Dubit, a company which uses teenagers as brand “insiders” to promote its clients’ products.

A key point of responsible communications with young people is that they be transparent and accountable; Head teachers should be aware of any promotions that are being run in their schools and should be able to veto anything with which they are not entirely comfortable.

Targeting media to support PSHE

We are very pleased to see that the annual statistics just published by ONS that show teenage pregnancy is at its lowest rate for more than 20 years.

TenNine has supported the work of PSHE Coordinators and Youth Workers with teenage pregnancy posters and the distribution of complementary material many times in recent years.  We have facilitated national campaigns in schools and colleges by central government and delivered local government advertising.  Closely targeted media supporting the key mentoring work that teachers and youth workers provide delivers the right messages to young people where they spend most of their time.

Old school advertising

Like many born just after the Second World War, I retain an irrational nostalgia for the austere 1950s that I would be hard pushed to explain.

Among my personal icons of the era, the Eagle comic fired my early imagination and its futuristic centre spreads papered the walls of my boyhood bedroom. Dan Dare, Harris Tweed and PC 49 still have a place in my consciousness 50 years after they first inspired me.