Date of Release:
September 2, 2008
Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release
CCFC to BusRadio: Stop Promoting 90210 to Six-Year-Olds
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and other advocates for children are demanding that BusRadio stop advertising the highly sexualized new television show 90210 to children as young as six. 90210 is prominently advertised on BusRadio’s website, BusRadio.com, which is promoted throughout the company’s broadcasts on school buses transporting elementary, middle, and high school students. The ads urge children to tune in to tonight’s premiere of 90210, which the CW Network describes as a “sexier” and “more provocative” update on the popular series from the nineties. CCFC has launched a letter-writing campaign calling for BusRadio to remove all 90210 promotions from the website, including a trailer that teases several sex scenes and a banner ad, linking to the shows website, which features stars of the show in sexualized poses.
“It’s distressing enough that BusRadio forces captive audiences of children to listen to advertising on school buses,” said CCFC’s co-founder and director, Dr. Susan Linn. “That they’re using their website to market sexualized TV programming to children as young as six is one more signal that schools should be wary of delivering students to such an unscrupulous company.”
BusRadio is already controversial. The company, which has a 16% approval rating among moms, plans to “take targeted student marketing to the next level” through commercialized radio broadcasts on school buses.
“BusRadio sells itself to school districts as an age-appropriate alternative to FM radio, but once again they’ve demonstrated that they don’t know or don’t care what age-appropriate means,” said Jim Metrock of Obligation, Inc., nonprofit advocacy organization that monitors BusRadio. Seminole County, Florida recently terminated their relationship with BusRadio when the company refused to stop playing songs from albums with parental warnings for explicit lyrics and content. Advertisers on BusRadio’s elementary school broadcasts have included the highly sexualized Bratz brand. BusRadio broadcasts repeatedly encourage young students to visit its BusRadio.com website where inappropriate media, including Mature-rated video games and now 90120, are promoted.
Marketing 90210 to tweens and young children is an essential component of the CW’s marketing strategy. In addition to the BusRadio ads, the show is being promoted through licensed merchandise such as backpacks, school supplies, and clothing.
“Children are being assaulted with sexualized media and marketing that influences their self-image, perceptions of others, and behaviors,” said CCFC co-founder, Dr. Diane Levin, coauthor of So Sexy, So Soon. “By using school-supported media to advertise90210, BusRadio is undermining the efforts of parents who wish to shield their children from the harmful effects of popular culture.”
Added Parents Television Council President Tim Winter: “The CW Network’s actions speak volumes. There can be no mistake that the network is bound and determined to promote graphic, adult-themed material directly to children. They are doing so openly and wantonly – even going so far as to publicly admit in their ad copy that their programming is wholly inappropriate for children. And with their new BusRadio campaign they are now targeting their promotional messages at an audience that is only comprised of children. The CW’s recent marketing efforts have regressed from a negligent disregard of the public interest to a reckless disregard; and now it is an intentional disregard.”