Thursday, August 5, 2010

Commercialism Corner

Commercialism Corner: Your one-stop shop for quick summaries and links to all the latest news about the commercialization of childhood.

McDonald’s Violent ‘Happy Meal’ Toy Promotion the Latest Target of Parents, Health Advocates – This piece covers advocacy groups’ actions challenging McDonald’s for its Happy Meal toy marketing, including CCFC’s recent campaign around the company’s violent toy promotions. The author ties these actions to the broader question of whether it’s time for Congress restore the FTC’s authority to regulate advertising aimed at children.

How Disney Magic and the Corporate Media Shape Youth Identity in the Digital Age – An in-depth article by Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock, this piece looks at the Disney marketing mega-machine and details the sophisticated ways in which “Disney is actually engaged in the commercial carpet bombing of children and teens.”  The authors conclude that the commodification of childhood is both damaging for children, and a grave danger to democratic society.

Addictive Internet Use Tied to Depression in Teens – A new Australian study shows that teens who are addicted to the internet are more than twice as likely to develop depression than those who are not.  The researchers conclude that the internet is isolating and alienating, disrupting time teens spend with friends and other activities beneficial to their mental health.

Behind Disney's Digital Shopping SpreeBloomberg Businessweek explains that Disney’s recent purchase of Playdom and other social gaming media platforms is a move to further integrate its brand and characters into the fabric of people’s everyday digital lives.  An example of how Disney plans to leverage the gaming site for the promotion of its release of Cars 2 next year is a preview of marketing schemes to come.

ScuttlePad: A Social Network Just For Kids – The founder and CEO of this new social networking website for children calls the site a training ground, explaining, “"We teach kids how to walk across the street, but we're not teaching them how to be effective social media players."  A major part of the lesson seems to be that kids should be online social networking earlier, instead of playing, being outdoors, spending time with family, or doing other developmentally beneficial activities.

Teen 'Haulers' Become a Fashion Force – The L.A. Times covers retail chains’ use of ‘hauls,’ or videos of teens showing off their new purchases, as a major back-to-school marketing tool.  The article points to the teen girls’ “bubbly charm, attractive looks and somewhat ditzy personalities” as the heart of haul videos, and a JCPenny executive adds that they’re better at driving sales than traditional ads because “they’re more organic.”,0,3376763.story

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