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Brief Published: 16 Feb 2021

M&S, EE & Telecoms Brands Support Home-Schoolers

Extra
Oak National Academy

With schools closed and parents facing home-schooling struggles, UK retail and telecommunications brands are seeking to foster caring relationships with customers by helping pupils explore new ways of learning and funding digital interactive learning solutions for disadvantaged customers. Below, we outline approaches from British retailer Marks & Spencer and mobile network providers including EE.

Marks & Spencer Uses Archive as Learning Resource: M&S has used its archive, Marks in Time, to create downloadable teaching resources comprising short films, worksheets and practical ideas such as inventing the clothes of the future or pitching business ideas. With modules for pupils at every stage of school, subjects covered include design and technology, science, history and business studies.  

EE’s Lockdown Learning Campaign: Created by British agency Saatchi & Saatchi, EE’s 30-second “A Message for Teachers” TV and social ad features American actor and EE brand ambassador Kevin Bacon sitting next to a photo of his mother, a former teacher. In a shift from EE’s usual joviality, Bacon sincerely outlines the brand’s commitment to offer unlimited mobile data to students struggling to get online. Fellow providers Three, Virgin and O2 offer similar schemes but haven’t given them the same level of exposure (prime nationwide advertising slots). 

For more on brands taking on a public service role, see Brand as Change Leaders

Mobile Networks Grant Free Online Lessons: Mobile network providers have ‘zero-rated’ digital learning platform Oak National Academy, meaning it can be accessed without using customers’ mobile data allowance. The platform hosts 10,000 teacher-created online video lessons using tech from UK software company Mux. Participating providers include BT, EE, GiffGaff, O2, PlusNet, Sky, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin and Vodafone. In the UK, 913,000 children can only access the internet using mobile data, making this their only means to access online education (Ofcom, 2020).

For more on brands lending a helping hand with home schooling, see Edutainment as Parental Support: Brands, Kids & Covid-19 and Back to School Brand Strategies.

For more on empathetic brand engagement, see Unlocking Access.

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