Media Smart: International expansion of the Media Smart group

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Media Smart is a 'media literacy' organisation funded by fast-food, media and toy industries. Its strong uptake in Britain has led to the programme being replicated and rolled out elsewhere. [1] Across Europe over three million children[1] in 73,000 primary schools are using Media Smart materials. More than 19,000 have requested them.[2] These programmes are supported by many powerful global companies including Microsoft, Nintendo, Hasbro and Nestle to name a few.


Media Smart's website lists the following European divisions:
Germany [ ]
Netherlands[ ]
Belgium [ ]
Sweden [ ]
Finland [ ]
Hungary [ ]
Portugal []


In the Netherlands Media Smart's initiative is Media Rakkers. It is supported by 36 leading global companies, largely from the food and drink industry. Media companies, including Microsoft and Nintendo, have also shown support, as has the Dutch Ministry of Education and the European Union. It has created two programmes to distribute information. These are Reklame Rakkers, an advertising literacy initiative, launched in 2005 and Media Makkers launched in 2006, which takes a more holistic approach to teaching media literacy.

In 2010, Reklame Rakkers reached over 6000 of the country’s 8500 primary schools, while Media Rakkers is used in more than 4500 schools. [1]


Launched in August 2007, Portugal's Media Smart is already used in 20,180 schools. [3]

The Expert Group consists of:

Comments from teachers using the resources

  • "I really enjoyed using this program, is a groundbreaking work and is a challenge for us." - (Aveiro)
  • "Lets develop observation skills and develop the critical spirit in relation to advertising and then in relation to other issues." - (Lisbon)
  • "I really liked because it is essential to see this issue from small so they can make the right choices, for example at Christmas, and to teach them how to separate the useful from the harmful and help them learn to read between the lines." - ( Porto)
  • "I really liked because it meets the problems of day to day, and stirs the real and that is of interest to both students and for teachers." (Lisbon)
  • "The materials are easy to use, the exercises are well explained and linked." - (Aveiro)
  • "The students liked it a lot because we used the DVD and magazines that are of different materials that are used to and they get excited, and also because it could show that they have knowledge - knowledge that is not educated." - (Porto)


  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos
  • Kellogg's ESPAÑA, SA
  • Modelo Continente, SA
  • Unilever Jerónimo Martins, Lda


  • APAP - Portuguese Association of Advertising and Communication
  • Dfusion
  • Porto Editora, Lda.
  • Pip
  • SIC - Sociedade Independente de Comunicação

Contact Information

Avenida da República, 62F - 6th floor
1050 - 197 Lisbon
Tel. +351 21 796 67 31
Fax: +351 21 793 85 76 [4]


Media Smart was introduced in March 2007 and has enjoyed dramatic success.[1] [5] In Hungary 1195 of the country’s schools have signed up to the programme and a complementary website, Mediatutor has been set up with a range of resources.[1] Advertisers have donated cash and broadcasters have used pro bono airtime worth over £2 million to help develop the project further. [6]

Expert Group

  • Ministry of Education and Culture
  • National Radio and Television Board
  • Dr. Eva Kosa, médiapszichológus, media scholars in the Expert Committee
  • Dr. Ildikó Sarkady, médiajogász
  • Dr. László Miklós, Sociologist, University
  • Keynote Dr., Sociologist, Moholy-Nagy University of Art
  • Disturbance in Dr. Bea, a psychiatrist, I no. Pediatrics
  • General Inspectorate of Consumer Protection
  • Economic Competition
  • European Commission Representation in Hungary
  • Valiant John Roman Catholic Teacher Training College
  • Parents Association for Children
  • Teachers' Association
  • Hungarian Advertising Association
  • Hungarian Section of the Advertising World
  • Advertising Self-Regulatory Body
  • Hungarian News Agency
  • Art Directors Club Hungary
  • Dr.Gellén Clara University Assistant Professor, University of Szeged
  • Körös dr. Mikis Martin, National Institute of Public Education [7]

Professional Cooperating Partners

Media outlets which follow Media Smart's policies in Hungary

  • Axel Springer
  • Danubius Rádió
  • Duna TV
  • Network TV
  • Inform Média Kft
  • Lapcom
  • Hungarian Radio
  • Hungarian Television
  • Metro Newsletter
  • Minimax
  • National Geographic Channel
  • Pannon Pages Association
  • RTL Klub
  • Sanoma Budapest
  • Slager Radio
  • TV2
  • Viasat3
  • MTV and VIVA TV [8]

Contact Information

MediaSmart Hungary Oktatási Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft.
Naphegy tér 8.
Telefon/fax: 06 1 212-5026


Media Smart was launched in late 2006. It is not conducted as a commercial business but based on support from companies who welcome this initiative to finance, plan, produce and launch of educational materials free of charge for schools. The following companies support Media Smart financially in Sweden.

AMF |Coop | Ferrero Scandinavia | ICA | March Sweden | Max Hamburger Restaurants | McDonald's | Mediaedge: cia | Procter & Gamble | Swedish Games | Sweden Advertisers | Swedish Association of Communication Agencies | Unilever]] Waterfall[10]

Contact Information

Contact: Anna Lindstrom
Media Smart, Sweden Advertisers
Klara East Church Street 2C
Box 1327
111 83 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8545252 38
Mail: anna.lindstrom @


Media Smart ® "Pub-Be Evil!" is a media literacy material intended for children 8 to 12 years in primary education. The goal is to make every child able to understand advertising messages. It was launched in 2004 to help support media literacy.

Foreword by the Advertising Council:

'If we want children to understand the world they live in, it is essential to teach them to develop critical thinking over what they see and hear. Magazines, newspapers and radio, are excellent sources for learning, contain advertisements. On the way to school, children are confronted with many posters. When they go to the movies, the great film is preceded by commercials. At home, they discover the prospectus filed in the mailbox. On television, many commercials surround programs. And even on the Internet, advertising is increasingly present. Currently, most homes have a television that children watch an average of 2-3 hours per day. Almost half (44 per cent) of Belgian households have a computer with an Internet connection. [11]

In October 2005 the Council of Advertising, a tripartite organization representing the entire advertising industry, including advertisers, advertising agencies and media, decided to follow this initiative and Media Smart Belgium " under the slogan "Be Pub-Malin! This is the Belgian part of European material of awakening to the media advertising, aimed at children aged 8 to 12 years in primary education. [12]


• Association Belge des Banques (ABB)
• Danone
• Douwe Egberts
• Ferrero
• Hasbro
• Kellogg's
• National Lottery
• Masterfoods
• Mc Donald's
• Nestle
• Procter & Gamble
• Refinery Tirlemontoise
• Unilever

New Zealand

New Zealand's Willy Munchright is a version of Media Smart, although it only focuses on identifying snack food products with too much fat and suggested alternative everyday snack foods (i.e. oranges, crackers, and frozen yoghurt) it also suggested cutting fat off the meat that you eat. However the advertisement still says that children can sometimes have the high fat snack foods after plenty of everyday foods. Another theme was “fat isn’t bad if you just have a tad”. There is a lack of objective aims for the programme and only general aims such as "to provides straightforward information to young people in a cartoon form which will encourage healthy eating and actions". It comprises a series of television advertisements, aired using donated television time, featuring an animated cartoon character promoting nutrition and healthy eating to children. [13]


The creation of consumerism around the world has influenced children to think about a ‘must have’ toy and ‘I've got to have it’. This behaviour is solicited by pressures from the media and their peers. It is disappointingly a common marketing occurrence. It is not surprising that these organisations are mostly funded by private sector companies. In the USA, the Media Smart Youth programme called "We can", is a national movement designed to teach 8 to 13 year olds to stay healthy. The programme has been implemented by many states. The programme was made available to the public in 2006. [14] Since its launch, it has been adopted by all 50 states and community sites, and in several parts around the world including the Arab World. [15]. In Canada 10 provinces have endorsed programmes aimed at advertising to young children. [16]

The shift to neoliberalism has increased the deregulation of companies to some extent, the reason being that regulation is now conducted to suit neoliberal policies. The same policies are enacted in the public’s name but increasingly without the public’s consent, thus they do not see the hidden messages attached in advertisements. In reality private interests supersedes children’s needs. This is done with the government‘s protection of corporate companies rather than popular inference. Neoliberal global capitalists market and the global commercial markets are closely linked. Thus they are a collective movement.

The average Canadian child sees 350,000 TV commercials before graduating from high school, spends nearly as much time watching TV as attending classes. In 1980 the Canadian province of Quebec banned advertising for children under age 13. [17] In upholding the constitutional validity of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act restrictions on advertising to children under age 13 (in the case of a challenge by a toy company) the Court held: ‘...advertising directed at young children is per se manipulative. Such advertising aims to promote products by convincing those who will always believe.’” Norway (ads directed at children under age 12), and Sweden (television ads aimed at children under age 12) also have legislated broad bans on advertising to children, during child programmes any kind of advertising is forbidden in Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Flemish Belgium. .[18] In Greece there is no advertising for kids products from 7pm to 10pm. An attempt to restrict advertising directed at children in the US failed with reference to the First Amendment. In Spain bans are also considered undemocratic. [19]


Media Smart has expanded around the globe on different continents. This could not have happened without the support of both the government and funders from each individual country. It has to be noted however that many funders, either financially or through contributions, are linked between the said countries. This can be linked to the ideology that international corporations have many different aspects of power. Without their contributions Media Smart would not have expanded at the rate it has.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Promoting Balanced Diets and Healthy Lifestyles Netherlands , CIAA Website, accessed 27 April 2011, p22
  2. Media Smart UK Response to the European Commission Media Literacy Questionnaire, European Commission Website, accessed 4 November 2010
  3. Media SmartPress Center
  4. Portugal Media Smart, Portugal Contact Info, Accessed 17/11/2010
  5. Hungary, Accessed 17/11/2010
  6. Hungary, Accessed 17/11/2010
  7. Hungary Media Smart, Hungary Expert Group, Accessed 17/11/2010
  8. Hungary Media Smart, Hungary Partners, Accessed 17/11/2010
  9. Hungary Media Smart, Hungary Contact Information, Accessed 17/11/2010
  10. Sweden's Supporters, Accessed 17/11/2010
  11. Belgium Media Smart, Accessed 17/11/2010
  12. Belgium Media Smart, Accessed 17/11/2010
  13. New Zealand Medical Journal, accessed 17 November 2010
  14. Ways to enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website, Accessed 17 November 2020
  15. Helping Palestinian Children Become “Media Smart”!, Alliance of Civilisation website, accessed 17 November 2010
  16. Media Education in Canada:An Overview, Media Awareness Network website, accessed 17 November 2010
  17. Consumer Protection Act, R.S.Q., c. P-40.1, ss. 248-9 Advertising Intended for Children Under 13 Years of Age Accessed 17/11/2010
  18. Belgium News, Accessed 17/11/2010
  19. Spain, Accessed 17/11/2010

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