April 2010

The Reviews are in: CCFC's 7th Summit a Smash Hit!; Have You Voted Yet? TOADY Polls Close May 10; Santa Clara County Passes Landmark Happy Meal Toy Ban; New Witness for Childhood Website Continues CCFC Summit Conversation; Legislation Policy Brief: Policy and Statutory Responses to Advertising and Marketing in Schools; Television Food Marketing to Children Revisited: The Federal Trade Commission Has the Constitutional and Statutory Authority to Regulate; Quick Hits; Support CCFC

Newsletter HTML: 

The Reviews are in: CCFC's 7th Summit a Smash Hit!

On April 8-10, experts and participants from around the world gathered at Wheelock College for CCFC's 7th Consuming Kids Summit: Market Values, Human Values, and the Lives of Children.  By all accounts, it was our best one yet.  In addition to a host of informative and dynamic presentations, this summit was also a celebration of community, CCFC's new home, and our determination to continue our important work reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers. 

Standout moments included a pair of award ceremonies:  the presentation of the Fred Rogers Integrity Award to Annie Leonard, creator of the The Story of Stuff,  and the surprise honoring of Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, CCFC's Senior Advisor, with the Commercial-Free World of Children Award.

Other highlights included sessions on the relationship between materialistic values and children's wellbeing; challenging the corporate myth of a free speech right to market to children; local activism; countering commercialism by living mindfully; and a hilarious keynote presentation by Lenore Skenazy on raising "free range kids" in a consumer society.

Videos of the summit's keynotes will be available soon.  In the meantime, you can read more about it - including what participants had to say about this "life changing experience" - at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/events/2010/summit2010.html

Have You Voted Yet? TOADY Polls Close May 10

In less than 48 hours, more than 3,500 people cast their votes for this year's TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award.  Some CCFC members, however, have yet to make up their minds, because, as several wrote, "They're all so awful."  (One even confessed to election fraud, voting for two toys when she could not make up her mind).  Meanwhile, voters are proudly proclaiming their choices on Twitter (search #TOADYAWARD) and spirited TOADY debates have broken out on CCFC's Facebook page.

Who deserves this year's dreaded TOADY?  The $280 Barbie Nail Printer?  The war toy, promoting the violent, Mature-rated Halo video game series?  The Nickelodeon website featuring violent and creepily sexualized games that's marketed to preschoolers?   The portable projector that turns the world into a screen?  Or the $2,500 cubicle workstation for preschoolers? It's up to you.  To learn more about the nominees and cast your vote, visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/toady2010.html.   And remember, all voters who provide an email address will be eligible to win their choice of one of four toys that are decidedly unTOADYish.

Santa Clara County Passes Landmark Happy Meal Toy Ban

In a landmark vote, the officials in Santa Clara County have passed the nation's first ordinance that would prohibit restaurants from using toys as an incentive to purchase kids meals that are high in fat, sugar and calories.  That means no Iron Man 2 toy giveaways at Burger King or Happy Meals with Barbie Mermaids.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 1.2 billion toys were given away annually with children's meals.

"This ordinance levels the playing field," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager said in a statement. "It helps parents make the choices they want for their children without toys and other freebies luring them toward food that fails to meet basic nutritional standards."

CCFC salutes the Santa Clara County board for recognizing that public health officials can - and should - restrict marketing aimed at kids that undermines their wellbeing.  We hope other municipalities, counties, and states will follow Santa Clara's courageous lead.  You can learn more in Michele Simon's Appetite for Profit blog and listen to CCFC's Dr. Susan Linn debate the ordinance with Radley Balko of the Cato Institute on this CBC broadcast.

New Witness for Childhood Website Continues CCFC Summit Conversation

Another highlight from the recent CCFC summit was a panel on the role that faith and humanist communities can play in addressing the commercialization of childhood. A new website, www.witnessforchildhood.org, aims to broaden that conversation and bring together an array of diverse voices.

The site will feature interviews with individuals from the Presbyterian, Ethical Culture, Muslim, Roman Catholic and Jewish communities, as well as activists concerned with media's impact on the development of children.

The first interview, with CCFC's Dr. Susan Linn, is posted here.  If you wish to be involved or offer support, please contact Mary Rothschild at mary@witnessforchildhood.org.

Legislation Policy Brief: Policy and Statutory Responses to Advertising and Marketing in Schools

This policy brief from the Commercialism in Education Research Unit at Arizona State University is important reading for anyone who believes in commercial-free schools.  The brief describes the growth of schoolhouse marketing activities in the last few decades and assesses the harms associated with commercial activities in schools.  It also provides advocates, policymakers, and educators with a policy framework and model legislative language designed to protect children and the integrity of education programs from advertising in schools.  The appendix of existing and pending legislation pertaining to in-school commercialism is also very useful.

Television Food Marketing to Children Revisited: The Federal Trade Commission Has the Constitutional and Statutory Authority to Regulate

This important new legal analysis by the Rudd Center's Jennifer L. Pomeranz in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics makes a convincing case that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can and should regulate food marketing to children.  Pomeranz reviews the existing evidence about kid's understanding of advertising and the impact of food marketing, and analyzes the First Amendment issues regarding regulating commercial speech targeting children.  Her conclusion?  For the first time since the FTC's original attempt to regulate marketing to children in the 1970s, the political, scientific, and legal climate coalesce to make the time well-suited for FTC action.

Quick Hits

For nearly 50 years no one has been better at hooking kids on unhealthy food than a ubiquitous red-haired clown.  Isn't it time to Retire Ronald?

This week's corporate social responsibility hero?  CCFC's Josh Golin.

Iron Man 2 Sparks $100 Marketing Bonaza.   Partners include Dr. Pepper, Hershey's and Burger King, which will be offering Iron Man kids meals - despite the fact that the film is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence."

Support CCFC

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding. To make your tax-deductible donation please visit: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/donate.