Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Commercialism Corner

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

Senate Passes Child Nutrition Act – The Senate unanimously passes the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which aims to improve school nutrition programs, and which--if the regulation passes and the USDA enforces the rule--will ban junk food sales both in school cafeteria lines and vending machines.

Twin Cities: This Education Brought to You By ..?  Public school districts in Minnesota turning to an advertiser-sponsored model.  CCFC’s Josh Golin and Parents for Ethical Marketing’s Lisa Ray explain why forcing children to look at corporate ads in school is not an acceptable solution to school budget problems.

Reps Seek Info From Comcast, MSNBC, Others On Web Tracking, Targeting – U.S. Representatives, disturbed by findings of a report on online advertisers’ tracking activities, demand that several companies disclose information about their collection and use of website users’ data.

Alarming Global Survey on Children's Perceptions of Nature: The Results – New worldwide study of children’s perceptions of the environment shows that “10X more kids ranked watching TV or playing computer games first compared to those who chose saving the environment.” 41% of American children report that saving the environment is least important to them, compared to the global average of 32% who ranked it last.[tt_news]=3811&tx_ttnews[backPid]=796&cHash=45652a0849

Back-to-School Shopping: It's All on Your Phone – Scannable phone coupons from Target and outfit creation apps from JCPenney are just a few of the ways in which marketers are targeting teens and “tweens” on their phones with back-to-school ad campaigns.  Sears and Kmart offer apps for kids to upload and tweet their purchases, complete with GPS and zip code locators so friends can search inventory at their local store.  American Eagle gives out free phones, with a 2-year contract as an expensive catch.  One executive comments, "From a marketing standpoint, you need to be where they're at and teens spend more time on their mobile phones than on the Internet and than watching TV or reading.”

All Interactive Youth Marketing Will Soon Be Location-Based – This marketing trade publication lists reasons why all marketing targeted at young people will be location-based, including: Privacy is not as important to teens as media portrays it; Nielsen predicts half of all Americans will own a smart phone by 2011; young people will use location-based serviced to hook up; mobile costs are getting cheaper.  The author writes that “Geo-targeting will continue to birth a new wave of technologies, experts, and devices built to deliver relevant information based on where you are, not just who you are,” and concludes that youth-targeted advertising will be at the forefront of this new, more invasive marketing frontier.

Discovery and Hasbro's Hub Kids' Channel Gears Up for Launch – New joint venture between Discovery and toy maker Hasbro hopes aims for the younger (6-12) child audience, hoping to “woo kids and advertisers trying to reach them.”  Discovery and Hasbro will spend $20 million to hype the channel leading up to its 10/10/10 launch.  The Hub lineup will include Transformers Prime, Clue, and other Hasbro-toy focused advertainment.  Hub CEO Margaret Loesch says the channel is being “so careful” about content and advertising (only 25% of the shows will be based on Hasbro products, and advertising on programming will fall below the federally mandated limits) in hopes of avoiding any “brouhaha” from concerned advocacy groups.

TCA: Hub Chief Optimistic, Cautious About Launching Children's Network – This is another article about the launch of new Discover/Hasbro kids’ television network, The Hub, in which its CEO makes clear that the network intends to market to a captive audience of children in schools in order to attract an audience to sell advertisers. The CEO also claims, “We have no product placement on our shows. Zero.” A leading toy marketer creates a TV network and entire shows built around toys it aims to sell children, but this isn’t product placement? Hmm...

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