Pernicious “Golden Marbles” Awards Roll Into the Sunset

After three years of protests led by the Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children coalition, the advertising and marketing industry’s Golden Marble Awards have been suspended. The Golden Marbles celebrated the “most successful” (read: most lucrative) corporate marketing to kids regardless of its affect on the well-being of children and families.

Presented every September in New York City, past awards heaped praise on child psychologists who advise the advertising industry on how to more effectively manipulate children for profit, as well as the explosion of “cross-promotion” that ties sales of junk food and junk toys in with popular children’s entertainment—movies like Shrek and Spy Kids, along with outlets like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

A statement on the Golden Marbles website says “we've decided to take this year off to sit back and re-evaluate the project.”  The awards sponsor, Toronto-based Brunico Communications, produces magazines and conferences to increase penetration and market share for businesses that sell products and services to kids, from pre-school through high school age.

“This is a glimmer of good news in an uphill fight against the corporate manipulation of children,” according to Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children’s Susan Linn, EdD, associate director of the Media Center at Boston’s Judge Baker Children’s Center. “We still must have a sorely needed national discussion about how much we allow our children’s fate to fall into the hands of the nation’s marketers.”

Since 2000, Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children (SCEC) held protest rallies outside the Golden Marble awards ceremonies, and once staged a mock ceremony – the “Have You Lost Your Marbles Awards” – drawing attention to some of the worst examples of commercial exploitation of kids.

“The Golden Marbles were a perverse celebration of corporate environmental stress on family life,” says SCEC’s  Diane Levin, PhD, Professor at Wheelock College in Boston. “That dangerous environment continues to be celebrated in far too many other ways, and everyone concerned about the health and well-being of children should speak up against the widespread manipulation of children for profit.”

Corporations spend more than $12 billion a year marketing to children–over twice the amount spent 10 years ago.  SCEC is a coalition of health care professionals, parents, educators, businesses, and advocates fighting the escalation in corporate exploitation of kids as a consumer group. 

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