The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Josh Golin (617.278.4172;

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 today 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

"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

The complete text of the letter can be found at:

The complete list of companies that received the letter can be found

Fairplay, formerly known as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, educates the public about commercialism's impact on kids' wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing. Fairplay organizes parents to hold corporations accountable for their marketing practices, advocates for policies to protect kids, and works with parents and professionals to reduce children's screen time.