Tell Toy Companies: Target
Parents, Not Kids, With Holiday Ads
Action: On October 27, 2008, CCFC launched a letter-writing campaign calling for major retailers and toy and game manufacturers to suspend their holiday marketing aimed at children and to target parents instead. With concerns about the economy so great, CCFC members urged companies not to exacerbate family stress by flooding children with ads for toys and games that their parents may not be able to afford.
Status: CCFC received replies from the Toy Industry Association, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, and Lego, and ThinkFun. Although we were pleased that ThinkFun did advertise to children during the holiday season, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, and Lego continued to target children with holiday ads, even in the midst of an economic crisis.
Read the Press Release>>
Tell the MPAA: Stop the Marketing of Violent PG-13 Movies to
Action: In May 2008, citing thousands of toys and kid-targeted promotions for a slew of violent summer blockbusters, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a letter-writing campaign to the Motion Picture Association of America urging them to stop allowing film companies to promote PG-13 movies to young children.
Although the FTC has recommended that the MPAA adopt an explicit, objective policy for the marketing of PG-13 films, the MPAA has refused.
In 2008, the Children's Advertising Review Unit found 8 different PG-13 films being advertised during children's programming. It is likely that this summer's violent PG-13 movies will be marketed to children this summer as well.
Read the Press Release>>
Tell Nationwide Children's Hospital: No Naming Rights For A&F
Action: Citing the harmful effects of
sexualized marketing and clothing on children, dozens of pediatricians,
psychologists, and other advocates for children are urging Nationwide
Children’s Hospital in Columbus not to name its new Emergency Department
and Trauma Center after Abercrombie & Fitch.
Status: Although the hospital's leadership received more than 4,000 emails and CCFC's concerns were featured in media across the country, Nationwide Children's Hospital is still debating whether to go forward with the naming rights. CCFC has been contacted by several hospital employees who expressed their concerns about the renaming.
Read the Press Release>>
Democratic and Republican Platforms Choose Corporate Interests
Action: In July
2008, CCFC sent letters to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committee of both parties requesting the adoption of “a plank
committing to protect our nation’s children from the excesses of our
marketing-driven media culture.” Over 2,000 of you signed petitions
letters urging the Committees to adopt such a plank and many of you
attended platform meetings in your own communities and advocated for our
the Republicans ducked the issue completely—there is no mention of media
and children at all in the Republican Platform. The Democratic Platform addresses the issue by ignoring corporate
culpability and focusing responsibility for protecting children
squarely, and solely, on parents.
Read the press release>>
CCFC Demands Immediate End to Advertising on Webkinz.com
Webkinz.com, the most visited virtual world for children in
the United States, has quietly begun targeting its users with
By opening the site to advertisers, Ganz is choosing to
maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s
Status: As a result of our campaign, Webkinz
has instituted a policy that grants parents the choice to opt
out of third party advertising.
Tell Disney's Baby Einstein: Show us the Evidence
Action: Given the damage that's
been done to its Baby Einstein brand by this study, one would
think Disney would be anxious to point to evidence that their
videos really are beneficial for babies. But so far, not
a peep. It's enough to make one wonder if Disney knows
there's nothing Einsteinian about their baby videos.
Status: Still Active.
Scholastic: Stop Selling Bratz in Schools
Action: The Bratz
- a line of highly sexualized dolls for girls as young as four
are - being marketed in schools by Scholastic, Inc. Scholastic
promotes Bratz through its book fairs and book clubs to a
captive audience of young students.
Status: Thanks to CCFC members, Scholastic, Inc. will no longer be
promoting the highly sexualized Bratz brand in schools.
More than 5,000 emails from CCFC members were too much to
ignore. Scholastic has confirmed that they will no longer be
selling Bratz Items in schools. We applaud Scholastic for this
Tell BusRadio: Stop Promoting 90210 to 6-Year-Olds
Action: BusRadio, which hopes to “take targeted student marketing to the
next level” by forcing children to listen to its commercialized
radio broadcasts on school buses, is advertising 90210 to
children as young as six. BusRadio.com – the company's website
for students that is promoted throughout BusRadio’s broadcasts
on elementary, middle, and high school buses – is urging
children to watch 90210, a show that the CW Network calls
a “sexier” and “more provocative” update on the popular series
from the nineties.
Status: Within hours of the launch of our campaign to urge BusRadio to
stop promoting the new 90210 on its website for children
as young as six, BusRadio began pulling ads for the show
off of its website. For some reason, however, they
didn’t remove all of the ads until after a few weeks and 1700
emails from CCFC supporters.
Read the press
Action: Unilever's Dove Campaign
for Real Beauty has been lauded for challenging the standards
of the beauty industry. Unilever’s advertising for Axe grooming products –
which appears frequently on MTV and other youth-oriented media
– epitomizes the sexist and degrading marketing that can
undermine girls’ healthy development.
Status: Still Active.
Don't Use Sex to Sell Toys to Six-Year-Olds
Action: In Fall, 2006,, Hasbro
planned to start marketing - to girls as young as six -
a line of dolls based on the Pussycat Dolls, a real-life burlesque
troupe turned pop stars famous for their sexualized lyrics and
dance routines. According to The New York Times, the dolls were designed to mimic the
group's "playfully risqué style."
Status: On May
24, 2006 - less than 48 hours after CCFC launched its campaign -
Hasbro announced that they were canceling their planned line
of dolls based on
the Pussycat Dolls,
real-life burlesque troupe turned pop stars
famous for their sexualized lyrics and dance routines . Thanks so
much to all of you who sent letters - it was your efforts that
made the difference.
Read the press
Tell Walmart: Nagging is Not a Family Value
Action: At Wal-Mart's new website, http://toyland.walmart.com/, children review a parade of
toys while two animated elves encourage and reward them for
adding items to a wish list. "If you show us what you want on
your wish list, we'll blast it off to your parents," say the
elves. "We'll help plead your case."
Wal-Mart is ruthlessly coming between parents and children and
actively encouraging kids to nag for their holiday gifts. Many
of the products in Toyland - such as the Bratz Fashion
Makeover (pictured) - may be antithetical to parents' values.
Others, like the Fisher Price Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade
($279), cost more than many parents can afford. Yet children
do not need a parent's permission to enter Toyland, there is
no age requirement to use the site, and kids are encouraged to
submit their parents' email address in order to send their
Families have a hard enough time navigating holiday
commercialism without the world's largest retailer bypassing
parents entirely and urging children to nag.
Tell Running Press to Remove all Product Placement from
Action: Until now, books have been a refuge from the advertising
that is ubiquitous in children's lives. But that's about to
change. In an unprecedented commercial intrusion, a
soon-to-be published young adult book will include product
placement. Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233 (Running Press) will incorporate Cover All makeup into its
plot for promotional purposes.
The last thing young girls need is a cosmetics ad disguised
as a novel. If we let this go unchallenged, books--like
television, movies and videogames--will become major venues for
marketing to children. And the quality of children's literature
will be compromised.
Status: Because of consumer complaints,
Running Press has removed product placement from the paperback
version of Cathy's Book.
For more information on this action see our February 2008