Ralph Tabberer accepted that the campaign to recruit trainee teachers, launched in 1997 and featuring celebrities including actress Joanna Lumley and footballer Steve McManaman, had no impact. In fact, the numbers recruited actually dropped by 16 per cent in the period 1996 to 1999, he told The TES.
Advertising firm Delaney Lund Knox Warren won a string of awards for the commercial, but has since lost its contract with the agency. While the advert had helped double inquiries to the agency, ultimately it had failed because it had not been targeted properly, Mr Tabberer admitted.
This spring the agency launched new cinema adverts, which retain the "no-one forgets a good teacher" slogan. However, Mr Tabberer said they were more realistic: stressing that teaching offered the chance to develop skills tat might be useful in another career later in life.
The commercials will be backed by newspaper adverts that trade heavily on the appeal of the recently announced teacher training salaries of up to pound;10,000.
The agency will also revamp its telephone hot-line service, carry out new research on why people are put off teaching and use local newspaper and TV adverts in areas where there are shortages.
Recruitment targets for trainee secondary teachers look set to be missed in all subjects bar one this year. Three years ago, the Teacher Training Agency said two wanted two applicants for each secondary postgraduate training place. But, just three months before the end of the recruitment season, only PE has hit the target.
Music and design and technology are unlikely to even get one applicant per place. Many other subjects are struggling below 1.25 per place. Recruitment ananlyst John Howson said the figures reflected "the most competitive graduate labour market of the last decade".