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Parents Group Slams Producers for Marketing PG-13 Films to Kids


Rory J. Thompson

January 17, 2008

A coalition of 19 pro-children groups have called on filmmakers today to stop promoting PG-13-rated movies to kids via giveaways and promotions.

The 19 are all signatories to a letter drafted by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to the Motion Picture Assn. of America. The CCFC had contacted the Federal Trade Commission this past summer when the film Transformers was allegedly being marketed to kids via TV spots, food promotions and licensed toys. Last week, the FTC acted on CCFC’s complaint by urging the MPAA to adopt guidelines for the marketing of PG-13 movies.

“There is growing evidence that violent media has a negative impact on children’s attitudes and behavior,” said Dr. Susan Linn, the CCFC’s co-founder and director. “PG-13 movies have gotten increasingly violent in recent years, and it’s important for the industry to protect these children,” she added.

The CCFC is hoping its letter will sway the MPAA to heed the FTC’s request to be more vigilant in how films are marketed to youngsters. (A PDF version of the CCFC's letter is accessible HERE.)

For its part, the MPAA said it already has strict advertising guidelines in place.

“We are pleased that the FTC has said that they prefer self-regulation to government intervention,” said Seth Oster, svp and corporate communications officer for the MPAA. “We take their [FTC’s] recommendations seriously, have worked with them closely in the past, and will continue to do so. They made some good recommendations to us and in many cases they are things we are already looking at,” he added.

Among the signatories to the letter (besides the CCFC) are Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., Parents for Ethical Marketing, and the Parents Television Council.

If the MPAA doesn’t voluntarily take further steps to restrict such marketing, Dr. Linn said her group would keep working with the FTC to propose regulations governing such ads.

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