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CCFC NEWS - Fall 2005

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

Save the Date:   CCFC’s 5th Annual Summit

                           Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond

   Wheelock College, Boston

   October 27-28, 2006

    

As in years past, CCFC’s 2006 Consuming Kids summit will bring together distinguished scholars, activists, parents, and educators to discuss how marketing undermines children’s health and wellbeing and what we can do about it.  The 2006 summit features a special focus on marketing in schools.  This is one event you will not want to miss.  Stay tuned for more details and registration information.

 

Scholastic and Tickle U:  An Update

 

In September, CCFC launched a campaign to get Scholastic to stop marketing Tickle U, Cartoon Network’s new programming for young children, in preschools.  Tickle U has partnered with Scholastic to send branded "curriculum" materials to more than 20,000 preschool teachers. The Cartoon Network says its Tickle U curriculum will help preschoolers develop a sense of humor. It is clear, however, from the materials - including a classroom poster of the Tickle U characters and a parent guide that urges children to "Tune in to Tickle U" - that the real goal of the partnership is to use classrooms to introduce and promote the Cartoon Network's new programming and the licensed products it will be selling. 

 

We asked for your help in ending this partnership and you responded.  More than 500 of you have written to Scholastic asking them to end their partnership with Tickle U.  And although you had the option of generating a pre-written email, many of you chose to personalize your letters and voice your displeasure not only with this partnership, but with the growing commercialization of Scholastic.  T

 

And help us keep the pressure on Scholastic.  If you haven’t already, please tell Scholastic to stop marketing TV in preschools

 

CCFC to TIAA-CREF: Coke is Not a Social Choice

 

On August 30, CCFC sent a letter to TIAA-CREF asking the pension giant to remove The Coca-Cola Company from CREF’s Social Choice Account. The letter was signed by more than 40 forty distinguished healthcare professionals and advocates for children.

The letter reviewed the growing body of evidence that soft drinks are contributing to health problems for children and detailed the ways in which Coke regularly violates its own policy to “not aim or direct any marketing activity from any source to children under the age of 12.” The letter also described how Coca-Cola’s lobbying has undermined efforts to rid our nation’s schools of soft drinks and concluded:

“A company that actively lobbies against policies that would improve children's diets and address childhood obesity is not a social choice. A company that aggressively markets empty calories to children is not a social choice. It is time for TIAA-CREF to offer a real social choice to its investors by offering funds that do not include The Coca-Cola Company.” 

The complete text of the letter and its signatories are available at:
http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/pressreleases/tc.pdf 

California Legislature Votes to Limit School Soda and Junk Food Sales

On September 15, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills that establish the most rigorous nutrition standards in the country for foods and beverages sold on public school campuses K-12.  One bill establishes rigorous nutrition standards for any food sold anywhere on school campuses outside the school meal program. This includes foods sold à la carte, in vending machines, in school stores, or as part of a school fundraiser.  The second bill eliminates the sale of soda and other sweetened beverages on high school campuses.  (These drinks were already banned in elementary and middle schools.)  CCFC member organization the California Center for Public Health Advocacy played an integral role in crafting this historic legislation and ensuring its passage.  More information on the bills is available at CCPHA’s website

California Joins Illinois and Michigan in Restricting the Sale of Violent Video Games to Minors

More good news from California.  On October 7, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill restricting the sale and rental of violent video games to minors.  Many had expected Schwarzenegger to veto the bill (he had worked to defeat the bill before its passage by the California legislature), but, in the end, the governor bowed to public pressure.  In signing the bill, Schwarzenegger joined Governors Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, who recently signed similar legislation in their states.  Considering that the courts have traditionally ruled against bills such as these, their passage is all the more remarkable and a testament to the growing public outrage against the violent media being marketed to children.  Congratulations to CCFC member organization the Child-Responsible Media Campaign, which worked tirelessly to ensure the California bill’s passage. 

The Entertainment Software Association intends to file a lawsuit in California against the enactment of the law, just as it has in Illinois and Michigan.  The courts will probably issue an injunction barring the law from taking effect until the case is settled and whichever way the courts decide, the case will be appealed, probably all the way to the Supreme Court.  So it will still be awhile before our children benefit from the protections these laws offer.  Nevertheless, their passage represents an important victory milestone in the ongoing struggle to protect children from commercial exploitation. 

McDonald's Rap Song Product Placement Plan Stalls

Earlier this year, CCFC denounced a plan by McDonald’s to pay hip-hop artists to plug Big Macs in their lyrics. “Even as food companies pay lip service to the idea of responsible marketing, they increasingly turn to new and deceitful ways of targeting children,” said Dr. Susan Linn.  “Listeners won’t know the rappers are being paid to push Big Macs -- these ‘adversongs’ are inherently deceptive.”  CCFC’s objections received extensive media coverage. 

We are happy to report that McDonald’s plans have stalled  and no songs singing the praises of the Big Mac have been produced to date.  Perhaps rappers are finding it hard to find lyrics that rhyme with “560 calories.”

The Center for Informed Food Choices Joins CCFC

A warm CCFC welcome to our newest organizational member, the Center for Informed Food Choices (CIFC). CIFC advocates for a diet based on whole, unprocessed, local, organically grown plant foods. CIFC believes that placing these foods at the center of the plate is crucial for promoting public health, protecting the environment, and assuring the humane treatment of animals and food industry workers. 

 

CIFC educates the public about how our industrial food system, along with corporate-influenced government policies, is the root cause of a host of preventable public health, environmental, and social justice problems.  To learn more, and to sign up for “Informed Eating” a free monthly email newsletter that exposes food industry tactics and analyzes nutrition policy, please visit www.informedeating.org.

        

Stop CosmoGirl! Addiction Marketing

An advertising insert for Dior’s “Addict 2” perfume in the current issue of CosmoGirl! magazine features a model dressed in “little girl” clothing, made up to appear under the influence of some chemical substance, and posed in a posture suggesting sexual “availability.”  Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and addiction remain a serious problem for daughters in this country—indeed a new survey from the American Medical Association says that teenage girls are more likely than boys to obtain alcohol illegally. Act now!  Click here to join with CCFC member organization Dads and Daughters and tell Hearst Communications President Victor F. Ganzi (father of twin daughters who serves on the board of the prestigious National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse [CASA] at Columbia University) to act like a father and immediately drop “Addict 2” ads (and any others like them) from his magazines. 

Mothers Examine the Influence of Popular Culture on Children

The National Association of Mothers’ Centers (NAMC), a CCFC member organization,  supports a national network of community based Mothers’ Centers by offering discussion tools for parent-to-parent groups on the challenges of parenting in today’s consumer culture. “Popular Culture -- TV, Videos ... Do We Need to Protect Our Children? and  “Popular Culture and It’s Influences on Children are just two of the discussion outlines available to member centers from the NAMC.  To find out if there is a Mothers’ Center in your area or how to start a Mothers’ Center, go to www.MothersCenter.org or call 1-800-645-3828.   

A Mothers' Center is a place where women can gain self-confidence in the face of outside criticism and self-doubts about their capabilities as they parent.  It is a place where women can examine the complex conflicts they experience in their struggle to balance their family life with their role in society. It’s a place where isolation is broken, stress and anxiety are reduced, and where information about normal child development and parenting are shared in a safe environment.  

New Guide on Television Available from TRUCE

CCFC member organization Teacher’s Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) has released a new 1-page guide to help parents understand the impact of television on their children.  The guide also has suggestions about what parents can do about their family's TV viewing habits.  TRUCE hopes you will copy and distribute this short guide widely---and ask pediatricians, early childhood programs, and libraries, etc. to copy and distribute the guide.  Available at www.truceteachers.org  

Captive Audience: Advertising Invades the Classroom

This video from CCFC member the Media Education Foundation, is a devastating indictment of corporate incursions into the American public school system.  Narrated by CCFC’s Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, Captive Audience exposes the increasingly common practice of advertising in the classroom and relying on commercial interests to fund public education.  Available from now until October 31 for the discount price of $19.95 if you enter promotional code 10WNM05 when you checkout.  For more information and to order today, visit http://secure.mef.tv/itemMatrix.asp?GroupCode=M100502&MatrixType=1 

Things We Wish We Didn’t Know

Kellogg’s has sent “Spark Creativity with Froot Loops” to daycare centers all over the country.  This “educational program” consists of a booklet with suggestions for art projects using Froot Loops and free boxes of the cereal.  Froot Loops is not the only brand bypassing parents and aggressively targeting children in preschools and day care centers.  When choosing daycare for your children, be sure to ask them about whether they incorporate marketing into their curriculum . . .

 

Spark, a new sports drink with more caffeine than a cup of coffee is being marketed to children as young as four.  Advocare International is using child athletes to give testimonials about benefits of Spark.

 

Creepy Quotes

“It's one more medium that allows us to be everywhere kids are.” - Paul Jelinek, Vice President Business Development and E-Commerce Operations for  Nickelodeon, describing Nick Mobile, a new plan to send branded ring tones, text messaging, and content to young children’s cell phones. 

 “We believe that the McDonald's brand is so omnipresent already in America that having it in music, having it in TV, having it in movies, is no more intrusive than anything else children experience nowadays.”  - A McDonald’s spokesperson responding to CCFC’s criticisms of a new plan to pay hip-hop artists to plug Big Macs in their lyrics.

Support CCFC

CCFC needs your help. We rely on our members for support because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding.

 

Your tax-deductible contribution will help us:

  • Raise public awareness about how marketing harms children
  • Advocate for policies that will help protect children from corporate marketers.
  • Build a coalition of individuals and organizations that value children more than corporate profits.

Click here to donate today!

 

     

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