Beatwax and Firstmovies founder Chris Ward has launched anew venture called iKnow, a not for profit business aimed at making youngchildren more aware of how brands are created and work.
iKnow says it is not an anti-brand initiative, but thatit wants to help counter the potential negative effects of brand marketing onchildren.
The venture intends to help children gain a greaterunderstanding about the marketing process that goes into building brands,allowing them to interact with brands with more knowledge and perspective.
iKnow argues that children are bombarded with brilliantlycreative ads without fully understanding the influence they have on them. Itsays that pursuit of the most fashionable and expensive brands can cause debtat home, the exclusion of friends from the social circle and playgroundbullying.
Ward plans to work with key brands and agencies, themedia and brand sponsored celebrities as part of the iKnow campaign.
The first iKnow campaign will target children in theAutumn term of their final year at primary school, when they are 10 and 11years old. It will include a schools roadshow, featuring a 30-minute video, ablind taste of different brands to see if they are different, parent notes andhandouts. The initiative will also include a major PR campaign and a month longcampaign in association with youth media.
Ward commented: "Having spent 15 years working withbrands at the highest level, I had the opportunity to step back and see howbrand marketing can influence my own children and through my work as aSamaritan, the real damage that it can sometimes cause."
He added: "I do think that some of the marketing industrypretend to themselves that pre-pubescent children are marketing savvy and havethe nous to fully understand how they are being engaged by marketers."
Ward founded marketing agency Beatwax, which worked withclients such as Disney and the BBC. He also created Firstmovies, a movie research and marketing business. He sold both businesses and left lastyear.
More details are available at