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CCFC News - September 2010

CCFC to FCC: New Nick Toon Is Nothing But an Ad

In an attempt to stop the latest escalation in the commercialization of children's television, CCFC has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission urging the FCC to rule that the upcoming broadcast of the animated children's program Zevo-3 on Nicktoons is not in the public interest. Developed by Skechers, the footwear giant, Zevo-3 is the first children's television program to feature characters known to children only as commercial spokescharacters.  Within days of our filing, the FCC opened an inquiry into the show.

The animated series Zevo-3 stars three superheroes named Kewl Breeze, Elastika, and Z-Strap and a villain named Dr. Stankfoot who, until now, have only been used in advertisements to promote specific lines of Skechers shoes to children.  The characters originally were created by Skechers for a special series of comic books distributed only in shoe boxes and have also appeared in numerous Skechers television ads.  Since the characters have always only been in ads, we believe that the show's broadcast will violate the time limits for commercial matter in kids' TV shows (12 minutes per hour on weekdays) and FCC policies that call for strict separation of commercial matter and programming.

Unless the FCC acts, Zevo-3 will set a terrible precedent, paving the way for children's programs featuring other spokescharacters like Ronald McDonald, the Burger King and Tony the Tiger.  Public pressure is key to the FCC taking action, so it's crucial that you weigh in on this important proceeding.  Please watch out for an important action alert from CCFC in the next few days!

Read the petition / Read CCFC's press release / Read the Associated Press story

Tune In Tomorrow: Susan Linn on Fearless Q&A

Earlier this year, Alex Bogusky, one of the country's most successful advertising executives, shocked the marketing world when he called for an end to all advertising aimed at children.  We were blown away by Alex's passionate, eloquent essay.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 29, at 2pm Eastern Time (11am Pacific), Alex will host CCFC's director, Dr. Susan Linn, on Fearless Q&A, his web-based talk show, for what promises to be a lively discussion about why advertisers should leave kids alone and what the world might look like if they did. 

You can watch live at and join the conversation by submitting comments via chat or Twitter @fearlessqa. And if you miss the live broadcast, the episode will be available on demand here.

Action Alert: Tell Food Lion to Pull the Plug on Grocery Shelf TVs

"I would never bring my children into a store with screen ads. Using them is akin to pulling aside a child and saying, 'Wouldn't you like your mommy to buy you this (probably sugary and unhealthy processed) item' right in front of the parent. You probably would not allow employees to do that, so why let a screen? It is insulting and manipulative behavior." Diane Miller, Ithaca, NY

This fall, Food Lion supermarkets will unleash 3GTv, mini-televisions attached to grocery store shelves running continuous commercials -- right next to the product being advertised.  If a test run in Maryland and Virginia is successful, other supermarkets are sure to follow Food Lion's lead.  That's why, no matter where you live or shop, if you agree that families have a right to grocery shop without be forced to run a gauntlet of screens blasting commercials in every aisle, Food Lion needs to hear from you.

Nearly 1,400 of you have already signed our petition -- can you help us get to 2,000 signatures by Friday so we can submit our petition to Food Lion next week?   Please visit to take action now! 

Currently in the CCFC Blog

This Science Lesson is Brought to You By... Susan Linn on corporate ads masquerading as education.

A Tale of Two School Districts - Josh Golin looks at a school district that's selling its kids to advertisers and one that bravely said no thanks to corporate cash.

Plus Michele Simon asks, Why is McDonald's listed a resource for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month?; Josh Golin looks at Kmart's back-to-school assault on young girls; and the Commercialism Corner has links and summaries of all the latest news about the commercialization of childhood.

Massachusetts Action Alert: Let's Keep the Boston Common Commercial-Free!

Unless we act now, corporate advertising could soon be imposed on the Boston Common, the first and oldest public park in the nation.  According to The Boston Globe, Mayor Thomas Menino is testing public reaction to the idea of including ads on the Common.  All public parks should be free of advertising, but it is particularly galling to commercialize the Boston Common, which is steeped in history and designated a National Historic Landmark.

If you live in Massachusetts and believe the Common should be off-limits to the crass commercialism that has permeated nearly every nook and cranny of our lives, please visit  

Recommended Reading: "On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking"

A Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy has found that popular children's websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the top websites aimed at adults. Many of these tools "are used to develop profiles of web-surfing behavior. Those can be used to deliver targeted ads that home in on children's concerns--say, dieting ads aimed at youngsters worried about their weight."

Nickelodeon's websites, among the most popular for children, were found to install a disturbing number of tracking cookies on users' computers. The article concludes, "Parents hoping to let their kids use the Internet, while protecting them from snooping, are in a bind."

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