For Immediate Release
CCFC Urges Baby Einstein to Come Clean with Parents; Advocates Document Years of Educational Claims
BOSTON - The Campaign for a Commercial-Free
Childhood (CCFC) is pleased that Baby Einstein has acknowledged that
their videos for infants and toddlers are not educational, but calls on
the company to stop misleading parents about its past actions.
An examination of Baby Einstein's promotional materials over the years
-- both before and after the company was purchased by the Walt Disney
Company -- makes clear that Baby Einstein has built its brand on the
implication that its videos have developmental benefits for babies and
"The number one reason infants and toddlers watch television is that
their parents believe baby media is educational, an impression that was
fostered by Baby Einstein's marketing over the years," said CCFC's Dr.
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor of education at Lesley University,
author of Taking Back Childhood and mother of actor Matt Damon. "We
hope that in light of this unprecedented refund offer, parents will be
reassured that their babies do not need videos in order to learn and
On October 25, 2009, Susan McClain, Baby Einstein's General Manager, told Good Morning America,
"At the heart of what the brand has stood for from the very beginning
is exposure to beautiful things, sharing the arts and humanities with
parents and their babies . . . We have not claimed that we are
years, Baby Einstein's promotional materials were chock- full of claims
about the videos developmental benefits:
- The very first Baby Einstein press release
stated: "The Baby Einstein Company today announced the release of Baby
Einstein, the first developmental video to combine visual and
linguistic experiences that facilitate the development of the brain in
infants ages one to 12 months." It also stated: "According to cognitive
research, dedicated neurons in the brain's auditory cortex are formed
by repeated exposure to phonemes, the unique sounds of language.
Studies show that if these neurons are not used, they may die. Through
exposure to phonemes in seven languages, Baby Einstein contributes to
increased brain capacity."
- A February 1, 1998 press release
entitled, "Infants and Toddlers Can Increase Reasoning and Intelligence
Through Mozart's Music," begins, "The Baby Einstein Company today
unveiled Baby Mozart, the second in a series of educational videos
aimed at facilitating the brain development of infants and toddlers."
The release also quoted Baby Einstein founder Julie Aigner-Clark as
saying, "parents who purchase the video for their babies can feel
confident that their children are receiving a good head start."
- In a February 13, 2000 press release,
Ms. Aigner-Clark claimed, "By placing our titles in DVD format, we
provide parents with a highly flexible, dynamic medium that can help
youngsters learn" and that Baby Einstein was "offering families an
increasingly broad range of healthy, developmental media for very young
- A November 6, 2001 release
announcing The Walt Disney Company's purchase of The Baby Einstein
Company quoted Disney's president Robert Iger as saying, "We view this
acquisition as a core element of our company-wide learning initiative
- In a May 1, 2003 press release
for Baby Galileo, the Baby Einstein Company referred to itself as the
"creator of the infant developmental media category" whose videos
"captivate and stimulate babies' and toddlers' natural sense of
- Until Baby Einstein changed its marketing following CCFC's Federal Trade Commission complaint, the Baby Einstein website described its Baby Wordsworth DVD
as a rich and interactive learning experience that introduces your
little one to the concepts of verbal and written communication and sign
CCFC also urges Baby Einstein to stop launching personal attacks at CCFC staff.
"The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a broad coalition of
parents, educators, healthcare professionals and researchers who care
about the wellbeing of children," said CCFC's Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a
professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "It is disappointing
that Baby Einstein has chosen to attack our director, Dr. Susan Linn -
a tireless advocate on behalf of children and families -rather than
addressing the legitimate concerns about how they marketed their videos
and joining with us to provide honest information to parents."
To read CCFC's original statement on the Baby Einstein refund, please visit http://www.
For information about how to obtain a Baby Einstein refund, visit http://www.babyeinstein.com/(
To read CCFC's Federal Trade Commission complaint, visit http://www.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood 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. CCFC is a project of Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org).