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Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Immediate Release
TOADY Award Parodies Latest Toy Industry Trends
BOSTON -- November 29 -- Back by popular demand, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has launched its 4th annual contest for Worst Toy of the Year: the dreaded TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award. Created in response to the Toy Industry Association of America’s annual TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards, the TOADYs highlight the toy industry’s troubling trends. From the multitude of 2012 toys promoting precocious sexuality and/or branded entertainment and/or electronic wizardry at the expense of children's creative play, CCFC has selected five "exceptional" finalists—most culled from this year’s “hot toy” lists.
Reflecting the latest toy trends, three of this year’s five TOADY nominees use apps to transform traditional toys into a screen-based, electronic experience.
“When it comes to great toys, less is usually more,” said CCFC’s Director Dr. Susan Linn. “Just because we can link a toy to a smartphone doesn’t mean we should. The toy industry is promoting superficial gadgetry at the expense of children’s creativity.”
Voting is open at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/TOADY2012 through Wednesday, December 5th. The next day, CCFC will announce which toy has joined past winners Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie, Nickelodeon's AddictingGames.com, and the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet.
The nominees are:
LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop
Recommended Age: 6-12
How do you turn one of the all-time great toys into a TOADY contender? Give it a makeover! Introducing LEGO Friends, just for girls and so jam-packed with condescending stereotypes it would even make Barbie blush. Bye-bye square, androgynous figures; hello, curves ‘n eyelashes! And at the LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop, your little princess won’t need to worry her pretty little head about icky boy things like building. Instead, she can “get primped and pretty and have some serious salon fun,” “shop for makeup and hair accessories,” or “gossip out on the bench by the scenic fountain.”
TheO ball by Physical Apps
Price: Coming Soon
Recommended Age: Coming Soon
Since the dawn of time, children have longed for something fun to do with 3-dimensional round objects. But thanks to the geniuses at Physical Apps, the wait is over. Simply insert your $400 smartphone into the TheO ball, hand it off to your kids, and in no time, they’ll be playing games their technologically primitive ancestors couldn’t dream of—like “Hot Potato.” Kids will love a ball that tells them what to do. And parents will love that their little ones no longer have to choose between exercise and excessive screen time!
The Put Me In The Story App by Jabberwocky Kids
Prices: App: Free; ebooks: $4.99
Recommended Age: 3+
You know what kids hate more than anything? Books! Why? Because no child cares what happens to Olivia, Max, or Sam-I-Am. But now, thanks to the Put Me In The Story App, you can instantly transform best selling children’s stories into e-books starring your own child. It’s the perfect way to insure that your little one never grows out of that cute, all-about-me stage. Right now choices are limited to Dream Big, Little Pig, The Night Night Book, and If I Could Keep You Little, but hopefully soon your little narcissist will be sailing off to Where the Wild Things Are, attending Hogwarts and tramping through Mordor. A special feature makes the books a cinch to share on Facebook so your “friends” can feign interest. Isn’t technology great?
Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey by Fisher Price
Recommended Age: 6 months+
A teddy bear just won’t cut it for today’s jaded, screen-addicted babies. That’s why the triple trademarked Fisher-Price™ Laugh & Learn™ Apptivity™ Monkey makes the perfect gift for your favorite droolers. It’s the first stuffy with an iPhone in its belly, so your little one can get everything she needs—Hugs! Video games! Milk!* —from the same creepy package! Since it’s marketed with bogus educational claims, mom and dad won’t have to feel guilty about that glazed look in baby’s eyes. And while the Apptivity Monkey won’t assure baby a slot at Harvard, it is guaranteed to give her a head start...on a lifetime of needing screens for comfort. (* We made that one up.)
The 7-11 Slurpee Maker by Spin Master
Recommended Age: 6+
Playtime will be sweeter this holiday season with the 7-11 Slurpee Maker! There’s nothing pretend about the sugar rush kids will get by combining soda and ice to make their very own Slurpee. But it’s the branding, not the empty calories, that really makes this toy so TOADY-riffic. The Slurpee Maker is emblazoned with the 7-11 logo and comes with a free Slurpee coupon, guaranteeing your kids will be nagging you for a trip to the convenience chain for a taste of the real thing. And with Slurpee’s 17 grams of sugar, your kid will down a full day’s worth in one shot – how convenient is that?!