CCFC Blog

What if they launched a television station and nobody watched? The new Hasbro/Discovery partnership The Hub, which premieres this Sunday, might be a good deal for the 2nd largest toymaker in the world, but if it succeeds it’s a bad deal for parents and kids—both for what it is and what it portends. As the first television station owned by a toy company, it’s another slide downward in the increasingly greedy and lucrative world of children’s media. The Hub’s existence forces us to confront simultaneously the inadequacy and lack of enforcement of rules and laws protecting children from overcommercialization. It’s an intensification and aggregation of the growing problem of program-length commercials masquerading as legitimate children’s...
For Pupils, a Note and Ad from School – Peabody, MA school committee approves advertising on elementary school notices like permission slips and school calendars. This is the latest in a trend of struggling schools selling out students in an attempt to fill budget gaps. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/10/01/for_pupils_a_note_and_ad_from_school/Healthy Kids, Healthy Families! Disney Launches Magic of Healthy Living – Disney teams up with Michelle Obama and the Ad Council (sponsored by the Dept. of Agriculture) for a series of PSAs starring Disney characters to promote “healthy lifestyles” for kids and families, which direct kids to new Disney websites designed...
FCC Probes Complaint That Cartoon Advertises Skechers Shoes - After only a week, the FCC opens an investigation into CCFC's petition that the upcoming Nicktoons show "Zevo-3" is one long Skechers ad. http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/news/2010/09/fccprobes.html Schools Seek Extra Cash Through Campus Ads – This Associated Press article addresses how school districts around the country are attempting to close budget gaps by entertaining or enacting the sale of advertising space in schools. CCFC’s Josh Golin and Parents for Ethical Marketing’s Lisa Ray explain why selling students out to corporate marketers is a bad solution. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/sep/19/schools-seek-extra-cash-through...
N.J. Assembly Committee Displaying Ads on School Buses - New Jersey is the latest state attempting to close school budget gaps by selling a captive student audience to advertisers. CCFC's Josh Golin weighs in. http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/news/2010/09/njassembly.html Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom – This New York Times (registration required) article looks at an educational program called Quest to Learn in New York City, which aims to turn the classroom into a video game experience. Is turning the classroom into a video game really the best way to help children learn and grow, especially when kids spend nearly every waking hour outside of school engaged with screens?...
Yesterday was a good day. Today brings this disappointing news from District 15 in Minnesota: As St. Francis District 15 students put their jackets into their lockers this fall, they could be greeted by pink jelly fish or luscious apples. It’s all part of the plan to bring more revenue into the schools. The school board Sept. 13 voted 6-1 to allow some of the lockers at six of the district’s eight school buildings to become advertising billboards for OMCM Marketing Solutions. A few thoughts: 1. One thing people often don’t realize about in-school advertising: schools usually don’t contract directly with advertisers; they use third-party placement agencies like OMCM. Not surprisingly, agencies that hope to profit by exploiting schools’...
Huzzah to the San Diego Board of Education! San Diego school board members were once intrigued by the thought of allowing ads on campus to help soften the blow of budget cuts, but they turned uncomfortable once they learned more. The board voted 4-1 Tuesday to reject a plan to allow ads in hallways, cafeterias, libraries and other places on school campuses. Nine months ago, the same board directed staff to research the idea. It is hard to overstate what a courageous decision this is. San Diego schools, like so many in these difficult times, desperately need money; officials estimate the district is facing a deficit of between $141 million and $160 million next year. But rather than succumb to slick sales pitches from companies eager to...
FCC asked to block Skechers' new cartoon series - The AP covers CCFC's petition urging the FCC to rule that a new Skechers-produced children’s show is not in the public interest. CCFC’s petition finds that the show Zevo-3, scheduled to debut on Nicktoons on October 11, is a program-length advertisement and violates ad limits set by Congress in the Children’s Television Act. AP story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/14/AR2010091404586.html. Press release and petition: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/pressreleases/skecherszevo3.html San Diego school board rejects campus advertising - After hearing from CCFC members, San Diego Board of Education puts students first...
An article in the Sacramento Bee last week raised concerns about the role of British Petroleum scientists in shaping a statewide k-12 science curriculum. BP representatives were among many experts called in to shape what and how science would be taught to California students. Having caused the worst human-made ecological disaster ever, BP certainly deserves to be the current poster child for corporate greed and corruption. But the company’s participation on a large committee shaping science curriculum is only a tiny piece of the giant problem of corporate influences on what children learn in school. For one thing, other industry representatives with a clear financial stake in how and what children learn about fossil fuels and non-renewable...
I am not a fan of any sort of  "awareness" month as I find the concept trivializes important health issues. Are we only supposed to care about heart disease, diabetes, etc, during that one month of the year? And I never see anything of substance come from the month-long activities, just the usual ineffective educational campaigns, instead of meaningful public policy reforms. Plus many issues tend to crowd themselves into certain months of the year, so it all just becomes noise.  September is one such month. Among other causes, September has been proclaimed "Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" by Congress and President Obama. When I first heard about about it, I though, oh god, please no ribbons or walks. Thankfully, no signs of either, yet...
Earlier this week, I wrote about my concerns regarding First Day, the new online Kmart infomercial webisode for tweens and teens from Alloy Media and Marketing. Well, the first episode is up and it’s even worse than I predicted. (The second episode is up too, but there’s a limit to my masochism). The takeaway? Pick your outfits carefully for the first day of school because: First day of school determines who you’re gonna be friends with, which determines if a guy is gonna like you which determines if you’ll ever be kissed, because after awhile you build it up and you get all nervous, until you’re 25 and totally unkissable. Pretty subtle message for a program developed by Kmart to promote its back-to-school clothes. The show is...

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