ACTION ALERT: Tell Toy Companies: Target Parents, Not Kids, With Holiday Ads
CCFC to Toy Marketers: Leave Kids Alone during Economic Crisis;
Companies Urged to Target Parents Instead this Holiday Season
As families struggle to cope with the global economic crisis, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging major retailers and toy and game manufacturers to suspend holiday marketing aimed at children and to target parents instead. In a letter sent to twenty-four CEO’s, CCFC urged companies not to exacerbate family stress by flooding children with ads for toys and games that their parents may not be able to afford. CCFC also launched a letter-writing campaign so that parents could share their concerns directly with companies planning to market to children this holiday season.
“It’s cruel for companies to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of children when parents everywhere are worried about their financial future and paying for necessities,” said CCFC’s Director Dr. Susan Linn. “A barrage of holiday marketing will create unrealistic expectations in children too young to understand the economic crises and will make parenting in these uncertain times even more difficult.”
Concerns about the economy are so great that experts predict parents will spend less on toys and gifts for children this holiday season. Reports indicate, however, that spending on advertising to children will not reflect the current economic downturn. CCFC’s letter warns that the combination of commercial pressures on children with inevitable belt-tightening by parents will create a tremendous burden for many families.
Even in better economic times, buying holiday gifts can be a considerable strain on family budgets. A 2005 poll found that approximately one-third of Americans took more than three months to pay off their holiday credit card debt and 14% carried credit card debt into the next holiday season.
“It is bad enough in normal times when marketers bypass parents and encourage children to nag for products,” said Dr. Linn. “But to do so during such a pervasive economic downturn is unconscionable.”
CCFC is urging companies to adopt a different approach. The letter states:
We understand the need to create awareness of your products. We urge you to do that by advertising directly to parents instead of enlisting children as lobbyists for their holiday gifts. Since it’s parents, not children, who can truly understand their family’s financial situation in these difficult times, it is more important than ever that you respect their authority as gatekeepers. Target parents instead of children this holiday season.
The complete text of the letter can be found at: www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/lettertoceo.pdf.
The complete list of companies that received the letter can be found here:
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (www.commercialfreechildhood.org) is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children.