GET INVOLVED     |     ISSUES     |     NEWSROOM     |     RESOURCES     |     ABOUT US     |     CONTRIBUTE     |     SEARCH  









June 28, 2007

Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>

For Immediate Release

Transformers Marketing: More than Meets the Eye
Hasbro, DreamWorks Target Preschoolers with Violent PG-13 Movie; CCFC calls for FTC Probe

Citing the widespread and irresponsible marketing of the PG-13 Transformers movie to preschoolers, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to expand their investigation of the marketing of violent entertainment to children to include PG-13 movies. The film, which opens on July 4, 2007, was rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language” by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). A review by CCFC found more than one hundred Transformers’ toys for children under six; Transformer promotions by Kraft and Burger King clearly aimed at young children; and advertisements on children’s television programming rated appropriate for kids as young as two.

“It is extremely disappointing that Hasbro and DreamWorks would choose to promote a film to preschool children that the industry deems inappropriate for anyone under the age of thirteen,” said CCFC’s Dr. Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids. “In their cynical attempt to wring every last dollar from one of this summer’s blockbusters, these companies have shown little regard for children’s well-being or parents’ desires to limit their children’s exposure to violent entertainment.”

Every single one of the one hundred and twenty-nine Hasbro Transformers toys reviewed by CCFC came with a recommended age younger than thirteen. Seventy-two of these products (56%) are recommended for children as young as five; an additional thirty-two toys (25%) are recommended for children as young as four; thirteen toys (10%) are recommended for children as young as three. A toy promotion at Burger King is also for children three and up.

“The sheer volume of toys aimed at preschoolers is likely to deceive parents into believing that the film is appropriate for young children,” said Dr. Linn. “Since every Transformers toy is an ad for a PG-13 movie, the toys should carry a similar rating.”

CCFC also found advertising for the Transformer movie, toys, and Burger King promotion during children’s programming on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Over the past thirteen months, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) – the advertising industry’s self-appointed watchdog – has found advertising for five different PG-13 films during children’s television programming, but no disciplinary action was announced. Because CARU is unwilling or unable to stop the marketing of violent PG-13 movies to young children, CCFC is calling on the FTC to intervene.

“As long as there are millions of dollars to be made by advertising PG-13 movies to young children, the film industry will continue to ignore CARU’s recommendations,” said CCFC’s Dr. Allen Kanner. “This is just the latest indication that decades of self-regulation has failed. If we really want media companies to stop marketing violent entertainment to children, we need a regulatory body that has the authority to actually enforce its own regulations.”

Since 2000, the FTC has issued regular reports on the marketing of violent entertainment to children. Those reports, however, only examine the marketing plans of R-rated movies. In a letter sent today to FTC Chairperson Deborah Platt Majoras, CCFC urged the Commission to:

• Expand its investigation of marketing violent entertainment to include the targeting of PG-13 movies to younger children.
• Launch an investigation of the blatant and irresponsible marketing of Transformers to preschool children through toys, food promotions and television advertising.
• Work with the media and toy industries to establish a consistent set of ratings for toys and the media they are based on and to establish clear, enforceable guidelines for the marketing of PG-13 movies.

The complete text of CCFC’s letter can be found at:








Website Designed & Maintained By: AfterFive by Design, Inc.
CCFC Logo And Fact Sheets By:

Copyright 2004 Commercial Free Childhood. All rights reserved