Marketers are able to reach school children by providing websites with educational content that are supported by advertising, include product placements, or are a portal to an online world immersed in advertising.
The TIME for Kids classroom website offers advertising (see How to Advertise on TIME for Kids) as well as "custom teacher and student microsites" sponsored by Partners, including Cartoon Network, Chevrolet, HBO, Panasonic, Toyota, and Warner Bros. For example Time for Kids in patnership with Chevrolet have produced a website entitled Fuel for the Future, which includes teachers tools, classroom activities, printable posters, and discussion starters. Students can "Find out more about how one car company is focusing on offerng fuel efficiency with a choice" with a link to see Chevrolet's various models.
There are also corporate sponsored websites such as MacDonald's Maths Online site, which is a Maths tutoring programme for Australian students. MacDonald's claims that 500,000 school students, that is, "one in three high schools students", had signed up to the program in its first six months.
The UK-based History Learning Site features flashing banner advertisements.
Review Game Zone, which features 'Sport Themed Educational Review Games' covering various school subjects including Economics, English, Math and Science, also features sidebar advertisements.
The website FunBrain, provided by Pearson Education, claims to be "The Internet's #1 Education Site for K-8 Kids and Teachers" and includes games and activities to make learning a fun experience. Students using the site are exposed to links that advertise books, McDonald's contests, and videogames. The link to the Pearson's Poptropica site leads to the Poptropica Store where "you can purchase all sorts of fun new items, outfis and upgrades for your Poptropican", a virtual character created by children.
"In other words, surfing from the teacher-recommended site quickly leads to a commercial world that may be age-inappropriate, gendered, and full of marketing for food, books, toys, and other products."
Alloy Media and Marketing, which took over Channel One in 2007 runs various virtual worlds for children, including Habbo Hotel, and "has amassed a network of education-oriented and other sites for teens". Alloy tells its clients: “We have the power to connect you to students… our print and web products reach them at home, school, and online to meet your specific marketing goals.”
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