CCFC Blog

Each year, the Toy Industry Association gathers to present its TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. In honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year. From thousands of toys that promote precocious sexuality to children and push branded and screen-based entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC has selected five exceptional finalists. Our next nominee is: PLAY-DOH Create ABCs App by PlayDate Digital Inc. Remove the unseemly mess from Play Doh . . . and all the icky creativity that comes along with it. No longer will kids waste precious moments imagining what to make....
Each year, the Toy Industry Association gathers to present its TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. In honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year. From thousands of toys that promote precocious sexuality to children and push branded and screen-based entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC has selected five exceptional finalists. Our first nominee is: Monopoly Empire by Hasbro For more than 60 years, Monopoly was almost the perfect board game. But one thing was missing: ads! Fortunately, the good people at Hasbro rectified that with Monopoly Empire, where “Every...
New report from Eat Drink Politics exposes McDonald’s charitable activity as a marketing tool to deflect critics. Pop quiz: Who do you think funds the hundreds of Ronald McDonald Houses around the nation? McDonald’s right? Sort of, but not really. While McDonald’s gets 100 percent of the brand benefit from Ronald McDonald House Charities, the burger giant only provides about 20 percent of its funding globally. At the local level, it’s closer to ten percent, with some of that money coming from donation boxes at McDonald’s outlets, that is, from customers. Confused? Wondering how a corporation that raked in $27 billion last year can be so stingy with its own charity? You’re not alone. In my new report, “Clowning...
I have only been working at CCFC for a few weeks, but I can already see that the major guiding principle behind CCFS's work aligns with a deep-rooted belief of mine—that children deserve a childhood free of roadblocks to their healthy development. Prior to coming to CCFC, I was an early childhood educator and professional development provider. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am a long-time advocate of hands-on creative play and face-to-face interactions for young children.  The advent of easily accessible screen technology is transforming young children’s lives at an unprecedented rate and scale. It concerns me that widespread use of screens is taking time away from creative play and other experiences that we know are essential for children to...
The headlines certainly sounded impressive: “McDonald's to Scrap Soda From 'Happy Meal' Ads” and “McDonald's Ditches Soda In Happy Meal Menus.”   In a grandiose announcement from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation), McDonald’s proved once again that it’s not only the world’s fast-food leader, but also the king of spin. This time, Bill Clinton himself was on hand for the nifty photo op with McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. Despite the seal of approval from the (mostly vegan) former president, I’ve learned to approach these sorts promises from McDonald’s with skepticism. And sure enough, when I started asking questions about the pledge on Twitter,...
Last week Michelle Obama gathered 100 food industry representatives, academic experts and public health advocates for a “summit” at the White House to discuss junk food marketing to children. The event included public remarks by the first lady followed by a closed-door discussion among attendees, ostensibly to come up with some solutions. The first lady’s speech was better than I had anticipated. As someone who was skeptical about Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program from the beginning, with good reason as it turned out, I am happy to report she didn’t pull any punches. Simply by shining a light on the critical role that marketing plays in influencing children’s eating habits, the first lady has taken away the food industry’s most common...
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a tendency to rant about injustice. We live in a culture whose materialism is complicit in the world’s crippling poverty, the decimation and depletion of our earth’s natural resources and beauty, and the over-stimulation, hyper-sexualization, and desensitization of our children. And that’s enough to get me pretty fired up. But working at CCFC this summer, I’ve discovered an amazing community of people who are committed to change all that. It’s been a joy to work with Dr. Susan Linn and Josh Golin, CCFC’s Director and Associate Director, who are both thoughtful and passionate. I also attended the Media Madness Institute, taught in part by CCFC co-founder, Dr. Diane Levin. Reading the angry,...
I have always been wary of the intentions of corporations and marketers, especially toward children. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to work for an organization that fights to hold corporations accountable and protect children. When I was looking for a part-time job in January, I came across CCFC’s posting for a Research and Communications Assistant. After learning about CCFC’s work, I decided the job would be perfect for me. And it was. I had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, Dr. Susan Linn, Josh Golin, and Shara Drew, three passionate and knowledgeable advocates. I learned how to execute a corporate accountability campaign and thoroughly research arguments. I also gained useful skills for nonprofit administration and...
On August 7th, CCFC filed Federal Trade Commission complaints against Fisher-Price and Open Solutions for the false and deceptive marketing of their apps as educational for babies. CCFC’s latest effort in our ongoing campaign to hold the “genius baby” media industry accountable is off to a fantastic start. One app developer has already significantly changed its marketing. And we’ve also kick-started an important conversation about babies, apps, and screen time through an impressive array of media coverage of our advocacy. Children’s Advocacy Group Faults Learning Apps for BabiesThe New York Times - August 7, 2013Coverage of our FTC complaints against Fisher-Price and Open Solutions in the context of CCFC’s history of successful...
Just five days after being cited in CCFC’s complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, Open Solutions stopped making educational claims about its apps for babies. The company eliminated all claims that their apps teach babies language, math, logic, and reading skills from their product promotions. As a result of Open Solutions' changes to their marketing, we’ve withdrawn our FTC complaint against them. It’s the latest in a long string of victories in CCFC’s ongoing campaign to hold the “genius baby” industry accountable for false and deceptive marketing. Fisher-Price, however, continues to claim its apps teach language and math skills to babies, despite having no research to support its claims. So if you haven’t yet signed CCFC’s petition...

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