CCFC Blog

I happen to know a five-year-old fan of SpongeBob SquarePants who told her father, in no uncertain terms, that SpongeBob mac and cheese tastes better than any other macaroni and cheese.  It turns out she was right—sort of. A recent study from the Rudd Center at Yale found that characters like Scooby-Doo and Dora the Explorer actually influence how children experience the taste of junk food, as well as their choice for a snack. The study provides more evidence that marketing can trump children’s senses.  Last year, researchers at Stanford found that children believed that food wrapped in McDonalds packaging tastes better than food wrapped in plain wrappers. What interests me most about the Rudd Center study, however, is that it found no...
Haven’t we been down this road before? A few years ago, it was BusRadio promising to make school buses safer and calmer with its student-targeted radio broadcasts. Now it’s television that marketers claim will soothe the beast. From the Dallas Morning News: Television can be a ready baby sitter in the living room, but will it work on school buses? The Garland school district is experimenting with playing educational videos on a school bus to help cut discipline problems. For $1,500 per bus, Carrollton-based AdComp Systems installs a 26-inch flat screen TV at the front of the bus. The screen plays videos supplied by NASA, the Discovery network, History Channel and others. The similarities between BusRadio – which closed its doors...
It’s old news that it is virtually impossible to find a movie for kids these days not selling them toys, clothing, food and accessories. But that doesn’t mean we should stop being outraged about it. Particularly egregious is when a film cloaks itself in positive messages while cynically undermining them by brand licensing, product placement and cross promotions. So I’ll say this for the Disney/Pixar studios: The company does a fabulous job of making films that simultaneously promote and trash socially responsible causes—the former through creative content and the latter through marketing. It’s true that when Pixar execs partnered with British Petroleum to promote Wall-E, the critically acclaimed animated post-apocalyptic environmental...
Nickelodeon has been urging children to vote for their favorite games at Addicting Games.com, a gaming website that is part of its popular media empire for kids. Tomorrow morning, in a television special called the Addicting Games Showdown, Nickelodeon will announce which game was voted “Most Heart-Pounding,” “Most Superior Ninja” and “OMG! Cutest Animal.” It may sound like Addicting Games is just another innocuous game site for children, but that’s not the case. CCFC has been monitoring AddictingGames.com for several months. The site, which is just a click away from many of Nick’s popular websites for children, contains numerous sexualized and graphically violent games that aren’t—by any stretch of the imagination—suitable for kids....
Iron Man 2—rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence—is just the opening salvo in the movie industry’s annual summer assault on children. This year’s attack continues with the opening of Prince of Persia, rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action. Since 2007, CCFC has tracked the marketing of violent PG-13 blockbuster movies to very young children. Our research conclusively demonstrates that these films are extensively marketed even to preschoolers through TV ads on children’s networks when a disproportionate number of their youngest viewers are watching....
We're making a difference. Recently, Nickelodeon removed links to AddictingGames.com from all preschool websites under its NickJr.com umbrella, including Dora the Explorer, Backyardigans, and Wonder Pets. More than 9,000 of you demanded that Nickelodeon stop promoting its Addicting Games website to children--and there are signs that Nick is finally getting the message.  But we need you to keep the pressure on.  Nickelodeon continues to link to Addicting Games, which includes some highly sexualized and horrifically violent games, from Nick.com and many of its other kids websites.  And Nick is actually revving up its promotion of Addicting Games to children.  On Saturday June 19th, Nickelodeon TV will air the...
Below are images and descriptions of some of the highly sexualized and horrifically violent games on Nickelodeon's AddictingGames.com.  Nickelodeon promotes Addicting Games to children as young as preschoolers.  To urge Nick to stop promoting the website to children, please click here.  To learn more about CCFC's concerns -- and how Nick is finally starting to get the message, click here. You Da Sperm Accessed: June 2, 2010 Description: "What has this woman been eating that there are apparently jellyfish inside her uterus? Take Sammy the Sperm through the inner canals that is woman,...
On May 12, 2010 CCFC presented its 2010 TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award to Nickelodeon's AddictingGames.com as the worst toy of the year.  Inspired by Nickelodeon’s blatant disregard for children’s well-being, voters overwhelmingly chose AddictingGames.com as the 2010 winner of the TOADY Award.   With an astounding 64% of the vote, AddictingGames.com easily outpaced its TOADY rivals:  The Little Tykes Young Explorer (18%), the BARBIE DOLL'D UP NAILS Digital Nail Printer (8%), the EyeClops Mini Projector (5%) and the Halo United Nations Space Command Turret (5%). While AddictingGames.com may have taken the day, each of the...
The people have spoken.  Inspired by Nickelodeon's blatant disregard for children's well-being, you overwhelmingly chose AddictingGames.com as this year's winner of CCFC's TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year.   With an astounding 64% of the vote, AddictingGames.com easily outpaced its TOADY rivals:  The Little Tykes Young Explorer (18%), the BARBIE DOLL'D UP NAILS Digital Nail Printer (8%), the EyeClops Mini Projector (5%) and the Halo United Nations Space Command Turret (5%).  Nickelodeon's decision to exploit its reputation as a family-friendly company by linking to the games directly from its...
I know I'm not alone in my inability to stop thinking about that oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes it's foremost in my thoughts, but often it's more in the background, like chronic anxiety, or some dull but persistent toothache. And, as we go about our daily work at CCFC, I'm thinking more than ever about sustainability and its links to our mission of reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers. We can't achieve a sustainable society without curbing consumption. Lifetime consumer habits begin in childhood. That's one big reason why children are targeted so intensely with marketing and why it needs to stop. As Josh Golin and I wrote in a piece for the Huffington Post on Earth Day last year, "Marketing doesn't just sell...

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