Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Corporate Brands Have a Place in the Classroom?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Corporate Brands Have a Place in the Classroom?

Article excerpt

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.


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 prioritising 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.


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.


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

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