SCEC NEWS ~ Fall, 2003
News is a regular service for members and friends of the
Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children coalition.
SCEC's mission is to stop commercial exploitation
of children through action, advocacy, research, and
collaboration among organizations and individuals who care
IN THIS ISSUE
3rd Annual Summit - Consuming Kids:
Toying with Children’s Health
February 14, 2004–an all day event.
The Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street
at Madison Avenue, New York City
in years past, this SCEC summit combines activism with
education. Even as marketing executives at the Roosevelt
Hotel plan advertising strategies at a conference
sponsored by Kidscreen Magazine, we will be on another floor
of the same hotel telling the world about childhood obesity,
violence, eating disorders and other harms associated with
marketing to children.
Confirmed speakers include Alvin Poussaint, Juliet
Kelly, Susan Linn, Velma Lapoint, Jim Metrock and many more.
summits have raised public awareness of the advertising
industry’s harmful manipulation of children through press
coverage all over the world.
According to The Chicago Daily Herald, SCEC
“deserves the thanks of parents everywhere for publicizing
the advertising industry's failure to consider children's
overall welfare.” Last
year SCEC’s summit prompted the editors of the prestigious
British medical journal, Lancet, to call for a ban on
marketing and advertising to children
fee: $50. $25 for SCEC members. Limited scholarships are
register, email Barbara Sweeny firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (617) 232-8390 x 2329
Selling Out to Coke" SCEC and Dentists Urge Pediatric
did the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)
accept $1 million in “research” money from Coca-Cola at
a time of growing concerns about the role of soft drinks in
causing dental and other health problems for young people?
Because that question has no reasonable answer, SCEC
and a prestigious group of dentists and dental school
professors sent a
public letter to AAPD asking them to return the money
and refuse such entanglements in the future.
letter asks AAPD to “[C]onsider carefully the message it
provides the public, whether explicit or implicit, regarding
the oral health of children.”
It concludes, “We find it hard to imagine a
research funder less appropriate for the AAPD than
Coca-Cola, the world’s most popular brand of soda.
The implicit message this AAPD-Coca-Cola partnership
sends to the American public is troubling:
If the protectors of children’s dental health –
pediatric dentists – are teaming up with Coca-Cola, surely
soft drinks cannot be harmful.”
AAPD member and University of Alabama at Birmingham
associate professor of pediatric dentistry John Ruby notes,
“A partnership between the world’s largest producer of
soft drinks and an organization founded to protect
children’s oral health flies in the face of AAPD’s
mission, not to mention common sense.”
letter calls on AAPD to immediately:
Terminate their current relationship with Coca-Cola
and return the research funds.
Commit to refusing funding from any company whose
products are known to contribute, or are suspected of
contributing, to children’s poor oral health or poor
Issue a strong statement opposing soda “pouring
contracts” in schools.
letter has attracted significant media coverage, including
stories from the Associated
Press, the San
Francisco Chronicle, and National Public Radio. In addition, the Daily
News ran a scathing column questioning both the AAPD and
National PTA’s partnerships with Coke.
letter and the Coke-AAPD partnership were hot topics at the
recent American Dental Association convention, where, in
stark contrast to the AAPD, the ADA voted to take a strong
stance opposing pouring right contracts and the marketing of
soft drinks to children.
read the full text of our letter to the AAPD, go to http://www.commercialexploitation.com/saynotocoke/letter.htm
send your own letter to the AAPD, please visit http://dads.e-actionmax.com/showalert.asp?aaid=432
TRUCE Toy Action Guide" Available in Time For Holiday
For the past 9 years, Teachers Resisting Unhealthy
has prepared a guide to help adults think about how to
use this holiday gift giving season as an opportunity to promote positive and
creative play for
children and counteract the negative impact of commercial
culture. The guide has lists of Recommended Toys and Toy
Trends to Avoid and suggestions for how to promote healthy play and advocate
for a less commercialized play environment for children.
To download the guide for your family and friends and to
distribute at schools and community events go to: www.truceteachers.org.
You can also contact TRUCE at: email@example.com.
Tim Kasser and Allen D.
Kanner (eds.) Psychology and Consumer Culture: The struggle for a good life in a
important book assembles a distinguished group of psychologists
and educators to provide a searing assault on what editors
Tim Kasser and Allen Kanner–both psychologists and SCEC
members–call “the culture of consumption.” Chapter
authors address consumerism’s effect on everything from
culture, ethnicity, and child development to consciousness,
gender roles, identity, psychopathology, work stress, and
family conflict. It should be required reading for parents,
educators, health care professionals, students of all the
social sciences, and for anyone looking to lead a meaningful
life in a world besot with materialistic values.
Contributors include SCEC members ,
Priscilla Hambrick-Dixon, Jean Kilbourne, Velma Lapoint, Diane Levin, and
Brownell and Katherine Battle Horgan, Food Fight:
The inside story of the food industry, America’s
obesity crisis, and what we can do about it.
is a powerful look at how our “toxic environment” has
given rise to an obesity epidemic and a dramatic increase in
obesity-related health problems.
Of particular interest to SCEC members are chapters
that detail how the food industry manipulates children
through television advertising, toy tie-ins, and in-school
and Horgan call for a broad social movement to transform the
current food environment and offer an important list of
recommended actions and protect children.
While these recommendations do not include a call to
end all marketing aimed at children, Food Fight
provides a compelling argument why we should.
WE WISH WE DIDN'T KNOW
busy to read your child a bedtime story,” writes the
“Not to worry. America Online Inc. wants to
come to your rescue, with a new online service for
kids to be launched at the end of the month that will,
among other things, allow your little one to choose a
wholesome bedtime story to be read aloud by the
if only AOL can figure out a way to feed those pesky
kids . . . 
our friends at Commercial Alert: The new Udvar-Hazy Center at the Smithsonian National
Air and Space will feature a plane called the Laser
200, which is covered in advertising in Bud Light. If you question whether a taxpayer funded tourist attraction
popular with children and adolescents is an
appropriate place to market beer, please visit http://www.commercialalert.org/index.php/category_id/3/subcategory_id/45/article_id/198
placement may be the best way of reaching chidren ages
8-12, proclaims a new market research report.
Three-quarters of "tweens" say they
notice what brands characters on TV and in movies use
and 72 % say that seeing their favorite characters use
a product makes them want to use it.
Skits on American Idol featuring contestants
using sponsors’ products were particularly effective
at blurring the lines between advertising,
programming, and reality.
Kids were almost twice as likely to watch these
skits than clearly delineated ads, and almost
half thought the show's contestants really used the
we're in the middle
of a worldwide obesity epidemic doesn’t appear to be
slowing down junk food producers’ commercial assault
on children. Taco Bell recently spent about $7.1 million for television
advertising aimed at teens for the fast food chain’s
new “open late drive through” campaign.
Taco Bell ads appeared on teen favorites such
as Fear Factor, Boston Public, and Survivor
Meanwhile, Kellogg’s—makers of American
Idol Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts--spent almost $1
million just on targeting younger kids watching Yo-Gi-Go
MARKETING PRACTICE OF THE MONTH:
A number of corporations are turning to
“neural marketing”, hiring neuroscientists to
conduct research on how the brain reacts to different
products, brands, and advertisements.
Baby Einstein? Baby Exploitation.
news from the new Kaiser Family Foundation report, Electronic
Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers,
that 26% of children under two have a television in their
bedroom is alarming on many levels, as is the fact that 68% of
babies under two watch, on average, 2 hours of screen media
per day. Twenty
seven percent of infants own a purportedly educational Baby
Einstein video despite the fact that there is no evidence
that watching TV or videos is beneficial in any way for
screen media do nothing to engage babies in the ways we know
they learn best–through physical, multi-sensory
interaction with their environment.
has been largely absent from news coverage of the Kaiser
report is that the primary function of most screen media is
see about 40,000 thousand commercials on television
exposed to television–even those exposed to PBS–are
being inundated with ads for junk food, toys and other
products that aren’t good for them.
prop babies in front of screens for a variety of
reasons–to give themselves a break, to watch TV
themselves, and because they have been purposely misled
about the educational value of screen time for infants and
toddlers. As advocates
for children, we
need to work harder on several levels.
We need to help parents understand the harms
associated with marketing to children and themselves; many
parents have bought the mistaken notion that they need
technology to keep babies entertained and too often good
parenting is thought to be synonymous with buying things for
children. We need to help parents find providing
environments for babies that are stimulating and free from
commercial manipulation. We need to find ways of helping
them manage the stress of raising young children.
We need to speak out in the media about the harms of
exposing infants and toddlers to marketing messages. We
need to work together to end the corporate exploitation of
young children and their families.
FOR INDIVIDUALS: With a minimum $25 tax
deductible membership you receive:
FOR ORGANIZATIONS: With
a minimum $100 membership you receive:
All individual benefits
Organizational link from the SCEC
Publicity for your events and activities
Opportunities to collaborate
should be made out to:
Baker Children's Center
B. Sweeny / SCEC
Baker Children's Center
Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115
make a credit card contribution, please contact Abigail
Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 David Vise, “ AOL's
Appeal to Youth; Strategy to Hang On to
Subscribers Targets Kids,” The Washington Post,
September 10, 2003.
 Buzzback Market Research
 Teen targets. (2003,
October 27). Adweek (Special Report Teen Marketing), p28.