CCFC Blog

 The State of Rhode Island House Health Education and Welfare Committee is considering a bill which would prohibit any advertising in schools for food or beverages which do not meet minimum USDA nutrition standards. While CCFC believes schools should be free of all advertising, the bill is an important step towards protecting Rhode Island students from junk food marketing. Below is the testimony which CCFC and Corporate Accountability International have filed in support of this bill.   March 16, 2016 House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare State of Rhode Island General Assembly Testimony of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Corporate Accountability International in favor of...
In the 1950s, Dinah Shore was all over television cheerily singing, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” My, how times have changed. Now, a commercial for the Chevrolet Traverse encourages kids to nag their parents to buy a Chevrolet, so they can ride with their eyes glued to a violent video game—Plants vs. Zombies, Garden Warfare 2—which is age-inappropriate for many of the children in the commercial. There is a lot to hate about this commercial: targeting kids because of their role in “household decision making;” trying to build brand loyalty among tykes not even old enough to ride their bikes in traffic; purporting to portray genuine reactions from a pint-sized focus group, which just happen to include off-camera exclamations from...
Hello Barbie, in a landslide!  The votes are in for the 2015 TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award, and the creepy eavesdropping Hello Barbie blew away the competition with 57% of the vote. The Brands We Know book series was runner-up (14.5%), followed by the Bratz #Selfie Stick with Doll (13.6%), Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster (8.6%), Sky Viper Video Drone (3.8%), and Tube Heroes Collector Pack (2.2%). CCFC member Julie Abraham explained why she voted for the Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie as the year’s worst toy: “This toy has all of the things I most detest: sexism, invasion of privacy, and rampant commercialism. YUCK!” Kaylan Crowther said, “Just when you thought Barbie couldn't...
The York Region District School Board in Ontario, Canada recently turned down a supply of a children’s book provided by TD Bank, because each copy featured prominent bank branding in violation of district policies and procedures which prohibit corporate advertising in school materials. We applaud the Board for enforcing the policy and protecting children from corporate advertising! It’s the policy of the York Region District to “allow for the dissemination of information from non-profit external organizations, which is in alignment with Board priorities and mission, vision and values.” District procedures prohibit distribution of “materials in which logos or messages of political or for-profit organizations appear.” The district...
A screenshot from the new Barbie ad showing a girl teaching a college course
On the heels of plummeting sales and controversy surrounding the release of Hello Barbie, last week Mattel released a new video seemingly designed to bring the public back to its side. Called “Imagine the Possibilities,” the ad features girls in various adult job situations: one girl is a vet, another is a college soccer coach, a third a professor, a fourth a museum curator. As the girls do their “jobs,” cameras show reactions from onlookers, usually giggling adults who obviously think the girls are precocious and wonderful. In the last moments, a slow fade reveals that the girls have actually just been playing with their Barbies the whole time. The ad is being hailed as “empowering,” “feminist,” and even “perfect.” And I’ll admit: it’s...
The AYSO jersey with prominent Fox Sports 1 logo
Parents are fighting back against the encroachment of corporate advertising into a national youth soccer league: the logo for Fox Sports 1 has crept right onto the front of their children’s jerseys! AYSO, the oldest youth soccer program in the country, has entered into a five-year sponsorship deal with Fox Sports. Thousands of children playing in AYSO programs across the country are now walking, running, and kicking billboards. Their jerseys bear the AYSO crest on the left, and equally conspicuous is the Fox Sports 1 logo on the right. When you visit the AYSO website and see how prominent the Fox logo is in several photos of kids playing soccer, you get the feeling that AYSO has turned them into models in an ad campaign. AYSO’s new uniform...
On June 13th, friends and supporters from all over globe gathered at Wheelock College to honor outgoing Executive Director Susan Linn for founding and sustaining CCFC the past 15 years. The evening included lots of commercial-free entertainment with performances by the Revels Kids and a special sing-along for Susan. Longtime friends and colleagues, including Kevin Hepner, Alvin F. Poussaint, Diane Levin, Michele Simon, Ana Lúcia...
Yesterday, as part of an action organized by Corporate Accountability Interational, I had the opportunity to attend McDonald’s 2015 Annual Shareholders Meeting and ask new CEO, Steve Easterbrook, if he is ready to commit to ending his company’s predatory marketing to kids. As a teacher, it is particularly concerning to me that McDonald’s uses schools as its own personal ad space. I know the importance of keeping marketing out of schools, especially when the brand promoted is fueling today’s health epidemic. That’s why I asked CEO Easterbrook, “will you commit to respecting schools as commercial-free zones and stop targeting our children?” In response to my question, Andrew McKenna, McDonald’s Non-Executive Chairman, stated that “CEO...
On May 4-10, thousands of people around the world celebrated Screen-Free Week. Thanks so much to all the SFW organizers who rallied their families, schools, and communities to participate. Screen-Free Week Everywhere From Washington to Florida-and places in between, organizers dreamed up all sorts of fun events and activities. There were ukulele lessons in Chehalis, WA, building castles and skyscrapers from recycled materials in Brooklyn, NY, and a variety of daily activities including a scavenger hunt, LEGOs, board games, and crafts in Homewood, IL. Communities such as Irving, TX and Battle Creek, MI hosted a screen-free event each day of the week. Internationally, students and others unplugged for the week in Morocco,...
In this guest post, toy store owner Marlene Lewis explains why you won’t find any commercial characters or battery-powered toys at Sunshine Sam in Bloomfield, NJ. I read the recent toy-related article in the New York Times with great interest. “Hitching a Toy to a Star” resonated with me because it addressed a large part of why I opened my battery-free and non-commercial toy and gift store, Sunshine Sam. Since opening my store, I’ve often been asked the seemingly simple, but actually very complicated question, “Why bother?” Many people wonder, “Do you have something against Mickey Mouse?” The answer is NO! Not at all! I also have nothing against Frozen, Toy Story, or Star Wars. In fact,...

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