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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Obamas stand up to marketing to children

Check out this editorial by Susan Linn from the latest CCFC (Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood) newsletter, called Protecting the First Daughters (and Other Kids, Too).

When the Ty Company celebrated Barack Obama's inauguration by exploiting his daughters, the First Parents were understandably outraged. The company launched two new African American dolls named "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia," laughably denying that they had any connection to the real Obama children. Michele Obama issued a powerful statement about the dolls saying, "We believe it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes."

The Obama's laudable effort to protect their girls from commercial exploitation is going to be an uphill struggle. They were already publicly urged to appear on the hit Disney show, Hannah Montana. The press refers to them as "first tweens," a marketing demographic dumping ground for children ranging in age from 6 to 14-and the Washington Post has called them "fashion icons."

Before his inauguration, President Obama wrote a public letter to his daughters sharing his hopes for them and, by extension, his hopes for all of the children in America. President Obama clearly sees his daughters as individuals, but can also see "every child" in them. I'm hoping this is one of those times.

While the form of their exploitation might be unique, the Obama girls are not alone. Corporate America routinely uses young private citizens for marketing purposes. They might not be turned into dolls, but they are exploited as research tools and as a vast, unpaid sales force. Companies like The Girls Intelligence Agency exploit children's friendships by conducting market research during pajama parties. Nickelodeon and Toys R Us, among others, have conducted market research in elementary schools. In the name of Internet safety, market research firms track children's online activities for their corporate clients. Popular social networking websites like Webkinz and Barbiegirl.com routinely encourage young users to reel in their friends through viral marketing.

What differentiates the Obamas from other parents struggling to protect their children is that the President actually has the power to take on Corporate America. As a first step, he could call on Congress to reauthorize the Federal Trade Commission's capacity to regulate commercial access to children, and repair the damage done when it was stripped of much of its power at the dawn of the Reagan era. As his administration reclaims the right of government to set limits on the market, I hope he remembers his children-and other people's children as well.

I would just like to add that these dolls were created by Ty, the same company that makes the Ty Girlz Dolls that I blogged about last year...'nuff said.

Monday, January 26, 2009

YPulse Mashup in June


I've just gotten word of this year's YPulse Mashup, a conference coordinated by tween/teen technology maven, Anastasia Goodstein, "Where today's top brand, corporate and social marketers, media professionals, educators and non-profit organizations gather to share best practices, research and latest strategies on marketing to youth with technology."

Anastasia says, "Hey everyone. Please help spread the word about the big Ypulse event coming up in June. If you're press, email me at anastasia@ypulse.com for a pass. If not, use the code FB for an extra 10 percent off the early adopter rates..."

The details
Event: Ypulse 2009 Youth Marketing Mashup
What: Business Meeting
Host: Ypulse
Start Time: Monday, June 1 at 5:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, June 2 at 8:00pm
Where: Hotel Nikko

You can also see more details and RSVP to the event on Facebook.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Sisterhood of Workplace Infighting

Peggy Klaus writes in the NY Times article, 'A Sisterhood of Workplace Infighting,' "If we really want to clear one of the last remaining hurdles to gender parity and career success, let’s start treating one another not worse or better, but simply as well as we already treat the guys — or better yet, the way we want our nieces, daughters, granddaughters and sisters to be treated."  I second that and top it with ice cream.
When women respect, value, and help each other--instead of fearing and competing with each other--we will go further in our goals.  And *everyone* will benefit from those efforts!
Check out the full article, brought to my attention by none other than....my wonderful sister.  No joke.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Bulimia is Curable" guerrilla toilet stickering


Hey all. I just got word about ProM├Ądchen's (ProGirl) in-your-face guerrilla campaign that targets sufferers of bulimia by stickering the inside of toilet lids. Way to go right to the source.

What do you think? Know any other projects like this? Let me know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feeling irked? This magazine does something about it!

 
Irked Magazine is a very cool publication where people talk about what irks them and what they're doing about it! I'm honored to be included in their zine, and am posting to help spread the word about the cool work they're doing.