According to the highly respected Campaign For “A commercial Free CHildhood “Webkinz.com, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting children with outside advertising.
The site is already commercial – in order to subscribe to it, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently this wasn’t enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) Ganz is now selling their young users to advertisers. According to the “CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL FREE CHILDHOOD Ganz didn’t bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. These are serious allegations that Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.
As a marketer with a long track record I find marketing to children is questionable to say the least. To keep up with the debate and keep myself balanced in my marketing and advertising practice I rely on the” Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood”. The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is the result of an innovative conference which was held in 1999 at Howard University. The conference brought together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of activists, academics, educators and health care providers concerned about the corporate influences on children. One year later, a number of conference attendees gathered in New York City to protest the Golden Marble Awards, the advertising industry’s celebration of marketing to children. No surprise with ads like this being placed in the market A year later the
Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood was born as 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.