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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 Preschoolers


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. 

Status: 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.


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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.

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Democratic and Republican Platforms Choose Corporate Interests over Childhood


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 proposed language.


Status:  Unfortunately, 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.

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CCFC Demands Immediate End to Advertising on

Action:, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting its users with outside advertising. By opening the site to advertisers, Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.

Status: As a result of our campaign, Webkinz has instituted a policy that grants parents the choice to opt out of third party advertising.

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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.


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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 decision.


Read the press release>>


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. – 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 release>>

Unilever: It's Time to Ax their Exploitative Marketing


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. 


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Tell Hasbro:  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, a 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 release>>


Tell Walmart: Nagging is Not a Family Value


Action: At Wal-Mart's new website,, 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 wish list.

Families have a hard enough time navigating holiday commercialism without the world's largest retailer bypassing parents entirely and urging children to nag.


Status: Still Active.


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Tell Running Press to Remove all Product Placement from Cathy's Book


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 Newsletter>>







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