CCFC Blog

S.F. Proposal: Healthier Kids Meals or No Toys – San Francisco follows Santa Clara County and proposes ban on junk food toys. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/08/11/MNJG1ES4M2.DTL Girls at Comic-Con Find Marketers Ready for Them – Toy makers used this year’s Comic-Con to show off their new brands targeted at girls, including Hasbro’s Strawberry Shortcake (who will have a show on Hasbro’s new children’s TV network, the HUB, launching this fall) and Mattel’s Monster High, a brand based on sexualized characters around which the company is planning an “entertainment juggernaut.”  Mattel’s Monster High dolls, clothing line, and electronics are already available, webisodes are online, a...
With schools facing unprecedented budget shortfalls and teacher layoffs, it’s not surprising that so many are considering what just a couple of years ago would have been unthinkable: allowing corporate advertising in their schools. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Sweetwater Union High School District has signed a contract with a company called 4 Visual Media Group to allow advertising on its cafeterias, hallways, and school buses. Meanwhile, schools in the Twin Cities area are signing up with a new company called School Media’s to place ads on children’s lockers. Who are these companies that hope to profit off of schools’ fiscal crises? Let’s start with 4 Visual Media Group. I stumbled upon their website six months ago when...
Senate Passes Child Nutrition Act – The Senate unanimously passes the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which aims to improve school nutrition programs, and which--if the regulation passes and the USDA enforces the rule--will ban junk food sales both in school cafeteria lines and vending machines. http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/senate-passes-child-nutrition-act/Twin Cities: This Education Brought to You By ..?  Public school districts in Minnesota turning to an advertiser-sponsored model.  CCFC’s Josh Golin and Parents for Ethical Marketing’s Lisa Ray explain why forcing children to look at corporate ads in school is not an acceptable solution to school budget problems....
A new study adds heft to the argument that girls are entering puberty earlier than ever before. No one knows why more girls than ever are developing breasts at seven or eight—some scientists attribute it to childhood obesity, others cite environmental factors. Whatever the reason, there’s cause for concern. How do girls so young deal with feelings heightened by hormonal surges, changes in their bodies, and how people think about them in their bodies? What these seven year olds need is support from their families and communities to help them understand and cope with the unsettling changes occurring in their bodies. What they don’t need are anorexic junior dominatrix dolls for girls as young as six. Oops, I mean the Monster High brand (“...
When I was growing up, the Bronx Zoo was just about my favorite place in the world. So it was painful to get this email from a CCFC supporter: In case you haven't heard about this: The Bronx Zoo now has a Dora exhibit. I am devastated. It was, until this, one of the last commercial-free places I could take my kids. Now, all they want to do is see Dora. So sad. The exhibit? A video, of course. Sorry, I mean a multi-sensory experience: Dora, Diego and Boots need your help to protect the animals of the rainforest from Swiper’s out-of-control Robot Butterfly! ¡Vámonos! The Robot Butterfly is swiping the water and plants that the animals need. Join your adventurous amigos on Nickelodeon’s high-speed, eye-popping chase from the tropical...
McDonald’s Violent ‘Happy Meal’ Toy Promotion the Latest Target of Parents, Health Advocates – This piece covers advocacy groups’ actions challenging McDonald’s for its Happy Meal toy marketing, including CCFC’s recent campaign around the company’s violent toy promotions. The author ties these actions to the broader question of whether it’s time for Congress restore the FTC’s authority to regulate advertising aimed at children. http://www.fleshandstone.net/healthandsciencenews/2100.html How Disney Magic and the Corporate Media Shape Youth Identity in the Digital Age – An in-depth article by Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock, this piece looks at the Disney marketing mega-machine and details the sophisticated...
Taking a Bite out of Fast Food – Officials and health experts in Thailand turn to CCFC Steering Committee member Michele Simon’s book Appetite for Profit for guidance in confronting the country’s rising levels of childhood obesity. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/188756/taking-a-bite-out-of-fast-food; Michele Simon blogs about it here: http://appetiteforprofit.blogspot.com/2010/08/bangkok-post-covers-release-of-appetite.html It’s Great to be Ken Toy Story 3 is helping to rehabilitate the popularity (and sales potential) of the Ken doll, which Mattel plans to capitalize on further with a marketing blitz next year as the doll turns 50. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/...
Junk Food Advertising Needs Watershed Ban – After a ban on junk food advertising during children’s programming in the UK has failed to significantly decrease children’s exposure to such ads, health groups call on regulators to implement a ban on all junk food advertising before 9pm.  Child health advocates say this is necessary in order to combat the increasingly clever ways in which marketers target children. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7910946/Junk-food-advertising-needs-watershed-ban.html U Going 2 the Bratz Party? IDK If They're So Popular – MGA Entertainment, after an ongoing court battle with Mattel, regains rights to the scantily clad line of Bratz dolls.  With the win, MGA hopes to...
I admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for television. Hours of childhood make-believe and an entire life’s work were inspired by TV and movies. I become a professional ventriloquist because of television—believe me, I don’t come from a family of people who talk without moving their lips. And I spent untold joyful hours playing about characters I encountered on the screen—Flash Gordon and Peter Pan. As an adult, I had the opportunity to bring my puppets to Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and I shared Fred Rogers’ belief in the potential, and the obligation, of screen media to benefit children. So I can’t escape the irony that I now direct The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an organization in the forefront of a movement to limit...
NERF: Hasbro's Play in the Toy Arms Race – Capitalizing on the amount of time boys spend engaged with violent video games, Hasbro moves toward a more “military style of play” with new line of NERF guns modeled after assault weapons. CCFC’s and TRUCE’s Diane Levin weighs in. http://www.businessweek.com/print/technology/content/jul2010/tc20100726_811886.htm Wired and Tired – Studies show TV watching, video game play, texting and other screen activities are interfering with teens’ sleep, which has negative effects for their well-being.  One doctor looks at the evidence and says, "From a public health standpoint, I look at this and I am scared stiff.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-teen-sleep-...

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