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Guy Williams

Echoes beached far away in time

What’s the first song you ever heard?

The one that pops into your head every now and again and you just can’t get rid of.  The one you probably never liked anyway and even if you did, it’s been echoing around the back of your mind for so long now that it’s not really just music any more.  It’s a fragment of your own personal theme tune, a beached fish twitching on the sand at the edge of your memory.

Much as I’d like to pretend mine was by someone cool like Martha and the Muffins, it was actually January by Pilot:

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.

Stop, Look, Listen

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is updating its guidelines on green claims in advertising and has published a checklist that all marketing claims to environmental responsibility should follow.  Any attempts to promote goods or services as being environmentally friendly should be “clear, accurate, relevant and verifiable”.  Not a million miles from the long-standing guidelines that all advertising should be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.  But that’s no bad thing; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all!

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.

Postcards from the edge of media

I’ve spent a large part of the last few weeks asking School Principals, PSHE teachers and youth workers what kind of images and language they consider acceptable in youth media.

We have recently seen some pretty challenging designs put forward by government and charities and it’s tempting to make snap judgements on displaying shocking images where they will be seen by young people.
Beat Bullying recently used a very graphic poster image of a teenager with a sewn-up mouth to show how bullying victims often suffer in silence and to guide them to their Cyber Mentors website.

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.

NHS Life Check – A Repeat Prescription!

We are delighted that the NHS was so pleased by the results of its Life Check campaign in June that it decided to re-book in September.

The poster campaign included all schools and youth clubs in specific English Primary Care Trust areas.

The Life Check website addresses anxieties & life questions facing young people.

It looks at issues of identity as well as attitudes to physical activity, healthy living, drugs and alcohol, smoking, sex and bullying.

The second booking is a real vote of confidence in our member clubs and schools and a great start to the new academic year.

Bucking the trend

Alan Scurfield, MD of TenNine, presented our first cheque to Simon Antrobus, CEO of Clubs for Young People, (seen here with ex-England footballer Dennis Tueart) at the CYP Gala Dinner last year.

We have been generating additional income for schools for six years, and are very proud to have been able to extend our support to CYP and front line clubs in such a difficult economic climate.

In addition to the commissions participating clubs and schools can earn, many of our posters directly support their ethos and the invaluable role they play in young people’s lives.