Amy Jussel On Changing the Channel of Media Influence

Oct. 28, 2010 Tonight I’ll be speaking on Changing the Channel of Influence in media, at The Third

I need to reiterate to ALL that Shaping Youth is a nonpartisan, non-religious-based, nonprofit,  non-tethered, organization.

The media literacy opinions shared are my own and NOT aligned with any other organization, affiliation, or agenda. Clear?

Reason I’m emphatic about this is that I hold very disparate (sometimes discordant) points of view, with a strong anti-censorship voice and an equally strident call for industry ethics to look beyond profiteering at the expense of public health and socioemotional/physical well-being of children. Shaping Youth is a centrist ‘voice of the massive middle’ without a filter, so I end up being a bit of a maverick media megaphone. How so?

We ask the questions on both sides of the media messaging conversation, as media producers and media consumers…

Can  media and marketing that’s ‘part of the problem’ also be part of the solution?

I think it not only CAN but MUST to sustainably change the channel of influence and amplify the volume loud enough to be heard.

Otherwise we’re just ‘preaching to the choir’ and ‘talking to ourselves.’

How can we impart critical thinking skills to kids early and often so they aren’t sucked into the vacuum of having media define them before they can even define themselves?

How can we sift and sort media and marketing picks that reflect our own value systems amidst a cacophony of noise to signal ratio that astounds?

Tonight we’ll talk about how to champion prosocial positivity from some of the biggest corporate names out there, using media literacy analysis (lift and reveal tactics) to deconstruct goodwashing, greenwashing, pinkwashing and brandwashing to make sense of it all.

Is that even plausible? Is it a ‘disconnect’ to support advocacy orgs like Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) while simultaneously applauding industry giants and commercial endeavors that use their corporate clout as a distribution channel for prosocial good?

What about engaging in colleague’s social experiments like A Year Without Disney tracking ownership and media consolidation even though you may not be inclined to participate in the boycott itself?

At Shaping Youth we don’t do the thinking FOR you, we ask that you think and choose for yourselves.

Is it a  ‘zero sum game’ when large corporations have a larger ‘family umbrella’ that thwarts progress of some of their own companies that are doing some good? What about when one side of the media message directly conflicts with another(e.g. Axe/Dove are both owned by Unilever!)

When we critically disrobe the media itself, some will find ‘the Emperor has no clothes’ while others will maintain the media campaign is strong and vibrant enough to stand alone making change by the sheer impact of the media message itself.

Personal preferences on corporate funded media that work well? (produced by Nike Foundation/Novo et al, featured on Shaping Youth here)

And the new Girl Effect Video SequelPlus…MTV’s creative anti-bullying visualization and teen engagement via A Thin

…Of note: SY is hosting a week long  “parade of positivity” in anti-bullying messages on multiple platforms with experts in the field the week of Nov 8-12 on Shaping Youth, including an interview with A Thin Line creators, so stay tuned…

…AND media mashups of nonprofit/for profit ventures that leverage the strengths of both and flip the media message and pop culture  zeitgeist using mass appeal.

Ecorazzi in the green sphere turns ‘gossip’ on its ear, Celebs Gone Good at is activating 2 million teens in outreach/cause-marketing (even w/partners like mass media giant Seventeen) and orgs like Ashoka Youth Ventures Dream it, Do it entrepreneurial partnerships (with corporate  ties to Best Buy at 15, Ben & Jerry’s and all kinds of backers, including TEDx talks) have turned innovation into education far beyond awareness raising.

Sure, it would be easier if we could just tap into a massive mobile  GoodGuide on the spot to make purchasing decisions, or filter ‘CSR lists’ like the 2010 Corporate Social Responsibibility Index, but without doing our homework in a deeper data dive, the media and marketing message gets VERY messy indeed

Firms like Disney, Kraft and Johnson & Johnson top the CSR charts yet without being viewed through a critical lens of youth marketing and media impact, we’re turning a blind eye toward some huge holes in causation.

It’s not ‘bad or good’ it’s all ripe for analysis in a case by case, connect the dots media framing.

These are some of the topics we’ll be tackling tonight, along with solutions-based orgs, sites, techno tools, programs, and even products that make a difference through purchase power to vote with your wallet.

Wish I knew more about the ages and stages demographically in the crowd tonight, as I try to use examples that pertain from toddler to teens…

From the Glee pornification that’s become urban wallpaper far beyond the printed page to the obesity stigmatization turned into bullying fodder in this week’s Marie Claire controversy, we’ll deconstruct how to flip the media message, and focus on positive media and techno tools that can inspire, engage and enhance in fun, fresh ways.

To me, the life lessons challenging 21st century parents amidst media environs of digital dossiers and marketing messages from womb to tomb is to help kids navigate these oceans of opportunity…to raise interconnected, compassionate kids as 21st century global citizens. (great privacy/transparency video about “digital natives” and digital dossiers, btw)

Media has brought us into “one world” proximity, now let’s choose to use it for good. See you tonight!

Annie Leonard Talks About Nov 9th Story of Stuff-Electronics Premiere (great media to munch on…particularly the planned obsolescence factor that is so irksome with techno tools!)

Also see pbskids LoopScoops for kids! (“to get you thinking about the stuff in your life” ) Excellent media literacy vignettes to get kids thinking critically about issues and choices that they make every day.

Here’s their version of ‘electronics’ deconstruction with Annie Leonard as content director! Fun teaching tools…Highly recommend.

Shaping Youth is using the power of media for positive change by flipping media & marketing messages to children in a healthier direction in three ways:

  • Counter-marketing (currently productizing via film, transmedia and digital downloads for global scalability)
  • Eliciting content accountability and change from industry producers themselves
  • Raising media literacy and awareness via blog, hands-on games, and kidvid creations…

We feel appearance-based behavioral cues and ‘junk food’ for the mind and body are undermining children’s emotional and physical health. Media is defining youth before they can even define themselves, often accelerating childhood with vapid values and shallow consumerism that’s counter-productive to nourishing souls.

Our vision is to change the channel of influence to a healthier worldview, away from the ‘Paris Hiltonization’ of pop culture toward inspirational actions that create sustainable change: Live 8. Disaster relief. LiveStrong Bands. Inconvenient Truth. The Dove campaign…All harnessed media and marketing’s power to make a difference on a global scale in a nanosecond.

YOU can too. Come hear more tonight…

See how YOU can tap into counter-marketing techniques and shift the focus in a healthier direction…Free. Fun. And always eye-opening.

Changing the Channel of Influence: Invitation (pdf)

The Third Place Presents…

Amy Jussel: Changing the Channel of Influence

“Reclaiming childhood from the media and marketing moguls”

Bring your hot button issues and media management challenges to this interactive presentation and leave with solutions on how you can put media/marketing on a different frequency in your home.  This presentation is a must for anyone who has  or works with children of any age.

In this presentation you will learn how to begin to take steps to counter the powerful messages the media is sending to our our youth.

  • change the channel of influence from “M-powered” media to empowered kids.
  • help kids to “think out of the box” toward original, authentic engagement, both with free play AND with the latest digital techno tools.
  • use the power of media for positive change.

Amy Jussel is the Founder & Executive Director of Shaping Youth, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consortium concerned with media and marketing messages to children.

Using the power of media for positive change, the consortium is implementing innovative programs for parents and kids (via film, web, hands-on education, & enrichment) to build awareness and promote healthier values by using the power of the media turned on itself.

Amy Jussel is also writer/producer of a documentary film in development, “Body Blitz: Media Shaping Youth” focusing on the acceleration of childhood through corporate profit motives and the societal impact on children. Amy is heavily involved with analysis and engagement with all aspects of transmedia, gaming, and the pro and con elements of the digital sphere…Eagerly embracing the power of media for positive change.

For questions or childcare reservation please contact Elisa Merrifield at or call  (650) 948-2151 This event is free.  Donations are gratefully accepted. RSVP at

Changing the Channel of Influence Details (pdf)

The Clock Is Ticking (love this Girl Effect Sequel, great use of sponsored media as a stand alone/viral success! Innovation for education–)



  1. Hi Amy

    Really helpful post (just catching up with my reading). Thanks for explaining the ‘centrist’ position so clearly. When I read this post it made perfect sense, however I doubt I would have been able articulate such a view and connect / reconcile the ‘disparate’ positions clearly before reading this.

    Now I know why you seem to make so much sense 😉

    Keep up the great work.


  2. Awww….THANKS, Chris…as you know a comment from the ether (esp as far as Australia) can keep the fires burnin’ to “Keep Calm & Carry On” in the 21st century media literacy/parenting arena so thanks for taking the time.

    Can’t wait to read your ’10 things teens might want this Xmas’ as my ten wants an entire ‘new room’ (not just paint, but ‘let’s go the consignment store’ customization.)

    Told her she’s living in a house, NOT her own apartment or MTV’s ‘the crib’– so while we’ll indulge a color scheme/DIY makeover, the chandeliers and furniture will just have to wait. 😉

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