FCC Comment Extension On Kids Product Placement ‘til Nov. 17!

Your turn to sound off if you’d like to join me (and 173 other orgs and commenters at last count) to reinforce the notion that embedded advertising (product placement) does not belong in young children’s programming. Shaping Youth was one of the initial 23 orgs onboard this coalition addressing the FCC, which I’ve written about exhaustively many a time.

Thankfully, Lisa Ray, at Parents for Ethical Marketing has distilled it all into a nice data nugget (background here) and gives busy people the scoop in a “here’s the deal” forthright summation. I’ll also point readers to the American Psychological Association Task Force findings on children and advertising to support the notion that the FCC is not currently enforcing what’s already on the books (namely, The Children’s Television Act of 1990, which clearly calls for distinguishing programming from commercial content since preschoolers cannot distinguish persuasive intent, nor do most children under 7-8, per the APA!)

I particularly like Lisa’s citing here of a recent FCC parent/commenter with a 6 year old and an infant (who also happens to be a psychologist and neuroscientist for an added dose of cred!) “It’s obvious that commercial content is not separated from program content in the minds of young children. Please act to confirm, enforce and require the mandated separation of commercials from any programming whose audience is likely to include children under 8, as a minimum.”

Short. Sweet. Compelling. Here’s how to file a comment today:

Go to the FCC website, under document type, scroll to “comment” and under proceeding number type 08-90. Easy, huh?

Nov. 17th is the open period for replies, and I urge you to see what other folks have written, including our own industry leaders in the WGA and Screen Actors Guild, and N.E. Mardsen of the Huffington Post who agree that kids should be OFF LIMITS in product placement programming!

And for anyone on the fence about the pervasiveness of this practice?

If you REALLY want to see the full extent of ad creep targeting kids, it’s far beyond broadcast and interactive… Product placement is stealthily entering children’s fiction, as PEM/Corporate Babysitter highlights in detail here.

I’ll add that it’s also FAR beyond books like the tween Buzz Marketing blitz of Mackenzie Blue…Russia has been selling corp. product mentions in bestselling books for years, so though it seems the U.S. would’ve started this capitalizing on capitalism trend, we’re just starting to feel the onslaught…

Industry snapshot? Check out: this one at iMedia Connection targeting kids in virtual worlds, or this one from Zdnet suggesting product placement inserted into YouTube videos or go straight to the industry leader specializing in this realm, iTVX, for a sneak peek at the vast pervasiveness of branded entertainment to see where and how it’ll turn up in your world.

I also use the AdVerLab blog on the future of media and advertising technology to keep up with some of what’s comin’ down the pike, including behavioral advertising on checkout receipts which I’ve written about many times on Shaping Youth.

Again, I understand commercial ventures need to ‘keep the lights on’ and advertising is not a ‘nonprofit venture,’ but transparency, disclosure, and all hands above the table in this poker game of life would make parents like me much more comfy in the trust, accountability and responsibility realm!

Subversive product placement and sneaky brandwashing has no place in mining the minds of young kids…

Our industry is shooting itself in the foot when there’s a backlash among those of us who straddle both worlds seeking balance, reason, and fairness in keeping marketing practices overt not covert. It’s not much to ask, folks. Sound off to the FCC to champion change.

Related Resources

Stealth Marketers Gone Wild, Will the FCC Act? (PR Sourcewatch)

The Secret to Branding Among Tweens & Teens (iMediaConnection, Oct. 21,08)

FCC’s Adelstein Calls for Eliminating Kids Interactive Ads (B&C News)

Ads That Are Too Fast For A Fast Forward Button (NYTimes)

BrandHype: Searchable Database on Product Placement

BrandFame: YouTube Product Placement Agency

CCFC Coalition: Timelines/Snapshot of FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

WGA: Are You Selling to Me? Stealth Advertising in the Entertainment Industry

Young Adults Turn Away From TV (Media Post/iTVX) (the shift to stealth, paid search, etc)

Stealth Advertising: Marketing Creeps Into the Evening News (ArsTechnica)

Featured Product Placements of the Week iTVX.net  (e.g. Fox’s American Dad, etc.)

Thou Shalt Not Kill: Except in A Video Game in Church (NY Times/Halo 3 product plcmt)

Behind the Screens: Hollywood Goes HyperCommercial (via Media Education Foundation)

Product Placement VIDEO Clip from Media Education Foundation

On Shaping Youth:

See our entire product placement category on the sidebar, including:

Kit Kittredge, American Girl: Product Placement or Literary Bridge?

Despite Heavy Product Placement, This Momsy Loved Mimzy

Behavioral Profiling: Collecting Digital Data on Kids

This Vacation is Brought to you By (who’s sponsoring your fun?)

This Vacation is Brought to you By (Apple Camp, product plcmt done right)

Love Your Veggies: (Product Placement in Schools That I Can Live With)

Media Rules! Shaping Youth Interviews Brian Reich


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