Let's Stop McTeacher's Nights; McDonald's Infomercial Invades Schools; Children's Clinic Renamed with Krispy Kreme Brand; AYSO/Fox Sports Deal Turns Youth Soccer Players into Billboards; Nominate Your Pick for Worst Toy of the Year; CCFC Welcomes New Program Coordinator Melissa Campbell (Who Has a Few Things to Say About Barbie); Book Review: Sold Out: How Marketing in School Threatens Children's Well-Being and Undermines Their Education; Recommended Reading & Viewing
In this issue:
- Let's Stop McTeacher's Nights
- McDonald's Infomercial Invades Schools
- Children's Clinic Renamed with Krispy Kreme Brand
- AYSO/Fox Sports Deal Turns Youth Soccer Players into Billboards
- Nominate Your Pick for Worst Toy of the Year
- CCFC Welcomes New Program Coordinator Melissa Campbell (Who Has a Few Things to Say About Barbie)
- Book Review: Sold Out: How Marketing in School Threatens Children's Well-Being and Undermines Their Education
- Recommended Reading & Viewing
Let's Stop McTeacher's Nights
Last week we launched a campaign with Corporate Accountability International to stop McTeacher’sNights, a marketing ploy disguised as a school fundraiser that McDonald’s uses to lure kids into its restaurants. During McTeacher’s Nights, teachers “work” behind the counter and students and their families are encouraged to eat the burgers and fries they serve up. It’s wrong for the fast food giant to exploit kids, teachers and cash-strapped schools to increase their own profits. That’s why we sent a letter—signed by the National Education Association, more than 50 state and local teachers unions, and leading education experts like Diane Ravitch—demanding McDonald’s put an end to McTeacher’s Nights. You can help us stop this terrible practice by signing our petition to McDonald’s.
Our campaign has already generated headlines across the country, including stories in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and on Alternet and NPR. CCFC’s Campaign Manager David Monahan and Melissa Cropper of the Ohio Teacher’s Union explained the trouble with McTeacher’s Nights on America’s Work Force Radio. And activists are taking to Twitter to tell @McDonalds to #StopMcTeachersNights – so if you’re on Twitter, join us!
McDonald's Infomercial Invades Schools
McTeacher’s Nights aren’t the only shameful tactic McDonald’s is using to market its brand to schoolchildren. Mother and advocate Bettina Siegel exposed how the company is pushing the film 540 Meals: Choices Make the Difference, a McDonald’s “nutrition” infomercial, in schools. The film follows a teacher, John Cisna, as he eats nothing but McDonald’s food for 6 months. McDonald’s markets the film as educational (and even provides a teacher’s discussion guide!), but as Bettina points out, in reality it is “little more than a heavily-branded infomercial for the fast food chain, one that seems cynically calculated to get kids to eat even more fast food than they do now.” Learn more in this Washington Post piece, and be sure to sign Bettina’s Change.org petition to keep 540 Meals out of schools at http://www.change.org/stop540meals.
Children's Clinic Renamed with Krispy Kreme Brand
The University of North Carolina announced last week that its children’s clinic in Raleigh will soon have a new name: The Krispy Kreme Challenge Children’s Specialty Clinic. Yes, really: Krispy Kreme, purveyor of high-sugar, low-nutrition donuts. The University claims the new name wasn’t influenced by the company, but instead by a local charity race that uses Krispy Kreme in its title. But whatever the reason, nutrition professionals and health advocates agree that a children’s health care facility named after a junk food brand is a terrible idea. You can sign Center for Science in the Public Interest’s petition opposing the name change here.
AYSO/Fox Sports Deal Turns Youth Soccer Players into Billboards
Over at our blog, CCFC’s David Monahan digs into the American Youth Soccer Organization’s sponsorship deal with Fox Sports, which requires AYSO’s players across the nation to wear the Fox Sports 1 logo on their uniforms. The logo effectively turns children into walking ads for the network, representing a “disturbing escalation” in youth athletics sponsorship. Learn more, including what parents in Brooklyn are doing to fight back, at the CCFC blog.
Nominate Your Pick for Worst Toy of the Year
It’s TOADY Award time! As toy companies rev their marketing engines for the holiday buying season, we shine a light on the worst of the worst toys marketed to kids with the TOADYs (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children). So if you’ve seen a terrible toy you think is TOADY-worthy, email us or post it to our Facebook page. We’ll announce the final nominees and open voting next month.
CCFC Welcomes New Program Coordinator Melissa Campbell (Who Has a Few Things to Say About Barbie)
We’re thrilled to introduce the latest addition to CCFC’s staff, Program Coordinator Melissa Campbell. Before joining CCFC, Melissa worked with the feminist organization SPARK Movement, training young women aged 13 to 22 to be activists, organizers, and leaders in the fight against the sexualization of girls. She is a dedicated activist and believes that nurturing children's imaginations and creativity without the influence of marketers is instrumental to building a more just and equitable world. Melissa will manage the day-to-day operations of CCFC's office and contribute to CCFC initiatives and campaigns. We’ll also be featuring Melissa’s insightful analysis on CCFC’s blog. You can read her first contribution, a great critique of Mattel’s new viral “Imagine the Possibilities” Barbie ad, here.
Book Review: Sold Out: How Marketing in School Threatens Children’s Well-Being and Undermines Their Education
As education budgets continue to shrink, far too many schools are turning to advertising in a misguided attempt to raise needed revenue. Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger, the nation’s two leading scholars on school commercialism, explore the damage caused by this trend in their new book Sold Out: How Marketing in School Threatens Children’s Well-Being and Undermines Their Education. They point out how these corporate “partnerships”—from sponsored educational materials to fundraising programs—hardly benefit schools and are harmful to students. Molnar and Boninger explain how educational programs that encourage consumption and discourage critical thinking negatively affect children’s physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as the integrity of the school environment. They also detail the threats to student privacy that have arisen as students are increasingly targeted with digital marketing in schools.
Students are particularly vulnerable now, as lawmakers cut both education budgets and the regulatory frameworks preventing corporate influence in schools. The authors suggest that administrators need a countervailing ethic to preserve educational integrity and strong policies to keep corporate influence out of schools. Sold Out is a great starting point for inspiring that ethic and developing those policies.
Recommended Reading & Viewing
- CCFC Board Member Nathan Dungan calls out Jack Black and Scholastic for using a captive audience of schoolchildren for a marketing stunt.
- The Chicago Tribune talked to CCFC members who are raising low-tech kids. And guess what? They're doing pretty great!
- A new report on student privacy from the ACLU of Massachusetts is packed with great tips and info for parents and educators.
- CCFC’s Josh Golin responds to a New York Times puff piece on Hello Barbie.
- The Washington Post interviews Marion Nestle about her new book, Soda Politics.
- Canada’s CTV News gives a sneak preview of the next phase of CCFC’s campaign targeting Hello Barbie.