So Close to Making Our $15,000 Match!; Victory! School Bus Ad Legislation Dies in All States; Advocates Urge the FTC to Stop Merck’s Kiddie Drug Peddling; Let’s Tell Facebook to Stay Away from Kids; Just Launched: FoodMarketing.org; Canadian Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Marketing to Children; Recommended Reading & Listening
In this issue:
- So Close to Making Our $15,000 Match!
- Victory! School Bus Ad Legislation Dies in All States
- Advocates Urge the FTC to Stop Merck’s Kiddie Drug Peddling
- Let’s Tell Facebook to Stay Away from Kids
- Just Launched: FoodMarketing.org
- Canadian Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Marketing to Children
- Recommended Reading & Listening
As our fiscal year draws to a close, CCFC supporter Ranae DeSantis has stepped up with a generous challenge: If we can raise $15,000 in individual contributions by July 1, 2012, she’ll match it! With 3 days to go, we’re just $3,000 away. While $30,000 is chump change to mega-corporations like Viacom or Disney that target children, it will make all the difference to CCFC. We can’t afford to miss this opportunity. Please join all of the CCFC members who have already stepped up to the challenge and make your tax-deductible contribution today.
Two more states, two more successes. New York and Rhode Island closed their legislative sessions this month without passing bills that would allow school bus advertising. That means school bus ads failed in all eight states (NY, RI, CA, WA, FL, KY, MO, & IN) that considered legislation this session. Congratulations to the thousands of CCFC members in these states that contacted their legislators and urged them to vote “No.” It is a testament to your activism that, even in these difficult economic times, school buses in your states will remain commercial-free!
Children's characters shouldn’t be used to market over-the-counter drugs. That’s why CCFC joined the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) to ask the FTC to investigate pharmaceutical company Merck for using Madagascar 3 to market Children's Claritin to kids. As PHAI’s executive director, Mark Gottlieb, said, “Marketing medicine directly to children at all, much less through entertainment tie-ins, is well beyond the pale and is not only inherently unfair, it is downright dangerous.”
Merck officials have disingenuously claimed its Madagascar promotions—which include packaging with characters from the movie and “5 free stickers” in each box—are aimed at adults, not kids. We hope the FTC takes swift action to stop Merck from dangerously targeting children.
Facebook, which has revolutionized marketing and transformed the social life of teens and adults, is looking to target children. But it’s a terrible idea. Facebook isn’t safe for kids, and that’s why we’ve launched a petition to tell Facebook to leave children alone.
Children are more vulnerable to advertising than adults, and they will be particularly susceptible to Facebook’s targeted ads and peer-to-peer marketing. They have not yet developed the maturity and judgment essential to handle the complexities of cyber “friendships” or grasp the potential consequences of sharing personal information. But if Facebook starts targeting kids, the pressure to join the site will be intense—to the detriment of their social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Are you concerned about food marketed to children? Do you want to keep up with all of the latest news and opportunities to take action against junk food marketers? The Food Marketing Workgroup, of which CCFC is a proud member, has launched a new site to help you do just that. With fact sheets, model policies, and action opportunities for reducing junk-food marketing in community settings like schools, supermarkets, and restaurants, it’s a hub for individuals and organizations that value children’s health over food industry profits. Visit www.foodmarketing.org today.
Exciting news from Canada, where MP Peter Julian has introduced a Private Member’s Bill calling for a national ban on marketing directly to children younger than 13. "It is wrong to take advantage of children who do not have the life experience or maturity to interpret commercial advertising,” said Julian. “By the time typical Canadian children have graduated from high school, they have seen, on average, 350,000 television commercials . . . Children lack what experts call the 'cognitive defenses' needed to understand these ads. And it's much more difficult for children and their parents today because young people are targeted with a greater intensity and frequency of ads than any previous generation."
Bill C-430 is endorsed by many grassroots and professional organizations including the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Ontario Public Health Association, and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies. We’ll keep you posted on the bill’s progress and opportunities for our Canadian members to voice their support.
- Susan Linn explains why media companies and marketers, not low-income children, will profit from closing the “ App Gap."
- And Susan makes the case for make believe play in this Thinking Aloud radio interview.
- Fascinating read from CCFC Steering Committee member Michele Simon: "Food Stamps, Follow the Money: Are Corporations Profiting From Hungry Americans?" This brand new report shows how much major food manufacturers, retailers, and big banks profit from the SNAP program and urges reforms that will prioritize public health, not corporate profits. (Check out all the excellent media coverage of Michele’s report here.)
- In the CCFC Blog, Mary Rothschild of Healthy Media Choices and Witness for Childhood writes about the place of technology and prayer at family meals.
- The Wall Street Journal digs into the hidden costs of mobile apps targeting children.
- The New York Times covers the depressing trend of cities turning to corporate sponsorships for cash (and Thom Hartmann follows up with this spot-on piece).