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February 2008 News                                                           

Newsletter Archives


Disney No Longer Marketing Baby Einstein Videos as Educational


As a result of CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, Baby Einstein has completely redesigned its website and is no longer making educational claims about its DVDs and videos.  In 2006, CCFC filed an FTC complaint against Baby Einstein for making false and deceptive claims about the educational value of their products.  In December, the FTC decided not to take enforceable action against Baby Einstein when the company promised to “take appropriate steps to ensure that any future advertising claims of educational and/or developmental benefit for children are adequately substantiated.”  Since no substantiation exists, Disney will not be able to claim that the videos have educational value. 


We are deeply troubled that the FTC failed to hold Disney accountable for years of deceptive marketing; essentially, the FTC is telling corporations that it’s okay to lie to parents because if you get caught there will be no consequences as long as you promise not to do it again.  At the same time, we are proud that CCFC’s complaint spurred substantive changes to the Baby Einstein website.  Gone are claims such as the description of Baby Wordsworth as a “rich and interactive learning experience that … fosters the development of your toddler’s speech and language skills,” or that Numbers Nursery will “help develop your baby’s understanding of what numbers mean.” 

Thanks to all of you who urged the FTC to act on our complaint and shared your experiences with Baby Einstein with the Commission.


The FTC’s response to CCFC is available at


The FTC’s response to Baby Einstein is available at


CCFC’s original complaint against Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein is available at


Another Successful CCFC Campaign:  Product Placement Gone from Cathy’s Book!


In the fall of 2006,  Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233 became the first young-adult novel to include product placement, incorporating Cover Girl makeup into its narrative in exchange for promotional considerations.  CCFC and the American Booksellers for Children launched a letter-writing campaign to publisher Running Press demanding the removal of the product placement.   Last week, citing the negative attention the Cover Girl advertising received, Running Press announced it would not be included in the forthcoming paperback edition of the book!  Thanks to all of you who participated in this campaign. If you wish to thank Running Press for their decision, you can do so at


Unfortunately, Harper Collins is planning to escalate the commercial assault on children’s books with a new series called “MacKenzie Blue.”  The series will not only be rife with product placement, but companies will be given the chance to sponsor the books as well.  Look for a brand new campaign from CCFC in the coming weeks.


Legislation Update:  Commercial-Free Vermont Schools?  South Carolina Kicking Advertisers off the Bus


In another indication of the growing movement to end in-school advertising, two important bills were introduced in state legislatures this past month.


On February 5, 2008, in Vermont, State Representative Christopher Pearson introduced legislation that would end all advertising on schools grounds during school hours. The bill would prohibit manufacturers and distributors from advertising consumer products on public school property or providing public schools with promotional gifts that bear the mark or brand name of the manufacturer’s product.  That means no Vermont student will ever be a captive audience while in school or on school grounds:  No BusRadio, no Channel One, no advertising in gyms or cafeterias and no corporate-sponsored teaching materials. 


Along with legislation introduced in 2007 in Massachusetts, the bill is the strongest school commercialism legislation in the country and would provide children with a needed safe-haven from advertising and marketing that undermines their wellbeing.  The bill is now being considered by the Education Committee.  If you live in Vermont, please click here to voice your support for the bill.

Also on February 5:  State Senator Greg Ryberg filed legislation to prohibit advertising on South Carolina school buses. The legislation comes on the heels of the South Carolina Department of Education's announced plan to accept ads on the interior of South Carolina buses - the first statewide contract for school bus advertising in the country.


Senator Ryberg's bill would establish school buses as commercial-free zones at a time when advertising permeates nearly every aspect of children's lives. It would stop South Carolina's newly established bus advertising program. And it would prevent BusRadio - a program designed to force school children to listen to radio broadcasts with targeted advertising on their way to and from school - from taking root in South Carolina. 


The bill has support from Senators across the political spectrum.  It is currently being considered by the Senate Education Committee.  If you live in South Carolina, please click here to email your Senator in support of the bill.


For more information on these bills and others to limit in-school marketing, please visit CCFC’s legislation page at


CCFC Summit:  More Presenters, More Excitement, But Space Going Fast!


Consuming Kids:  The Sexualization of Children and Other Commercial Calamaties. 


Boston:  April 3-5.


Just added to the CCFC summit line-up.  Carl Bybee and Debra Merskin of the University of Oregon.  Carl and Debra  will present “Who Stole the Sexual Revolution? Kids, Marketing and the Politics of Sex,” an examination of the transformation of the sexual revolution from a political reform movement into the marketing of a sexy look and sexual activity to youth as a form of a rebellion without politics.  And CCFC steering committee member Velma LaPoint (Howard University) and Garland Waller, (Boston University), will join Knox College’s Tim Kasser, in a workshop on  “Teaching Youth About Commercialism.”


Plus “Buy Me Something” – a stunning photography exhibit by Nat Ward examining commercial youth culture.  You can preview Nat’s photos at


Register now at!




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