Globalisation:Media Smart: History and aims

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Media Smart is based on a model developed by Canadian advertisers in the late 1980s called Concerned Children's Advertisers (CCA). Concerned Children’s’ Advertisers is a non-profit organization of leading Canadian companies who partner with the Government, NGOs and issue experts to create social marketing and education programs for children on issues that may be challenging in children’s lives. Over the past 17 years, Concerned Children’s Advertisers has focused on drug abuse prevention, child abuse prevention, child safety, self-esteem, healthy active living, bullying prevention and media literacy. [1]

Like Media Smart, it is also funded by transnational corporations including:

Cathy Loblaw, President the COO of CCA, says,

“The work of CCA is possible because broadcasters allow free airtime for the PSA’s, agencies produce the ads free of charge, and companies that advertising to children support the process. The government is also involved in the initiatives as well as industry experts.”[3]

This shows its partners and agencies are very supportive of their plans and help CCA to gain as much coverage and support as possible. Their goal is to be the credible, caring and authoritative voice of responsible children's advertising and communications. They contribute to the health and media literacy of Canadian children through innovative and effective social marketing and education programs and promote ethics and responsibility in advertising to children. [4]

The CCA is a unique organisation in that it was the first to focus entirely on children. It is an idea which is now being copied globally, with Media Smart being the first to take this step, to help and inform children about the media and the world of advertising. Media literacy is a critical part of the CCA as they are very aware that children do not just watch the well regulated Canadian children’s programming, but channels from other countries and programmes produced for adults. The CCA’s “House Hippo” was produced to show children that not everything you see on television is real. This media literacy infomercial won the best PSA in North America, and is now also running in the UK with a British voice-over.

Paul Jackson, Chairman of Media Smart, claims,

"The Canadians were originally pushed into action by a ban on children's advertising in French-speaking Canada, but since the programme has been up and running, complaints on the issue across the rest of Canada have fallen to around zero...I'm not saying there's an urgent threat here, but we must take the long-term view." [5]

Jackson, like many others, is concerned about the regulations on advertising for children. So by incorporating the ideas of the CCA in the UK, the public’s concerns are minimized whilst allowing children to learn valuable techniques to use in conjunction with the advertising and marketing industries.

Cathy Loblaw says,

‘Paul Jackson came across the CCA at the World Federation of Advertisers and identified that its programmes would have huge benefits for countries in addition to Canada. Paul Jackson set up “Media Smart” in the UK which focuses on the media literacy aspects of CCA’s work (rather than social issues). CCA is very keen for its work to be replicated in other countries. Media Smart has also produced its own initiatives and is being expanded across Europe.’[6]

Media Smarts expansion has been successful and is shown in International expansion

Paul Jackson explains,

‘In the UK there are several organisations that deal with children’s issues. The COI is the largest advertiser in the UK, and it is running some excellent campaigns together with government departments on issues such as anti-bullying and anti-smoking. There are also organisations like the FAU (Food Advertising Unit) that is looking at the way in which food and drink is being advertised to children.We feel it is important in this country therefore not to broaden it, in the way that Concerned Children’s Advertisers in Canada has, but to focus on media literacy and advertising. Currently it is TV advertising we focus on, but we will be considering including a radio module, and maybe the internet.' [7]
Concerned Childrens Advertisers logo

CCA's latest campaign, ‘Long Live Kids’, is focused on child obesity. Canadian industry is actively engaged in a healthy, active living campaign, in partnership with 17 leading NGOs and issue experts as well as Health Canada. In October 2004, Concerned Children’s Advertisers launched Long Live Kids, a comprehensive program addressing healthy eating, physical activity and media literacy. Reaching 96% of children through nationally televised PSAs, supported by a parent, educator and community program, Long Live Kids is designed to help children in kindergarten to grade 8 “eat smart, move more and be media wise”. [8]

Diana Caradine, Executive Director, states that

‘Basically, children focus on taste and fun, we are giving them the tools to understand that there is a link between their health, what they eat, what they do, and how they interpret media messages. We empower them to make informed choices.’[9]

This campaign however, is not being copied by Media Smart because, as stated, it does not want to relate to the broader social issues, its main focus is media literacy and advertising.

We have gained useful background knowledge and were able to research the history and aims of Media Smart through Concerned Children’s Advertisers as it is the model in which Media Smart is based on. CCA was incorporated as a business before Media Smart, and its work has been almost replicated by Media Smart. Both organisations are very similar on various aspects, such as they both create educational programmes for children; they are both funded by transnational corporations; their international expansion has been successful. The main difference to note is that Media Smart are solely concerned about media literacy, where as CCA has taken on other issues which affect children. Overall, the they have both made an impact on the advertising and marketing industries.

Media Smart was incorporated as a business on 5 March 2002 and is a private company limited by guarantee. It is listed with Companies House as:-
Company No. 04387708[10]


  1. Cathy Loblaw, Concerned Children’s Advertisers, Canadian Industry an International Leader for Children's Health, Food & Consumer Products of Canada, Accessed 7 November 2010
  2. Concerned Children's Advertisers, Accessed 17 October 2010
  3. Barbie Clark interview with Cathy Loblaw and Diana Carradine, Concerned Children's Advertiser's Leads the way, Young Consumers, Published in 2005, Accessed 1 November 2010
  4. CCA’s Mission and Mandate, Accessed 2 November 2010
  5. Daniel Rogers, Plans to keep the kids sweet, "Financial Times", Published: March 25 2002 13:30GMT | Last Updated: March 25 2002 14:03GMT, Accessed 2 November 2010
  6. Barbie Clark interview with Cathy Loblaw and Diana Carradine, Concerned Children's Advertiser's leads the way, Young Consumers, Published 2005, Accessed 1 November 2010
  7. Barbie Clark interview with Paul Jackson,Children are getting Media Smart in the UK, Young Consumers, Published in 2005, Accessed 2 November 2010
  8. Cathy Loblaw, Concerned Children’s Advertisers, Canadian Industry an International Leader for Children's Health, Accessed 7 November 2010
  9. Barbie Clark interview with Cathy Loblaw and Diana Carradine, Concerned Children's Advertiser's leads the way, Young Consumers, Pulished in 2005, Accessed 1 November 2010
  10. Companies House, Accessed 19 October 2010

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