For those of us distressed by the commercialization of the holidays and of childhood in general, here's a chance to put our money where our values are. This year we can choose to avoid the toys companies are marketing most heavily to children.
Today, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free CCFC released the Nagging Nine, the toys and games most advertised on children's cable television networks during "Black Friday" week. Lego Building Sets, which lead the list, were advertised 415 times during these seven days.
During the week of November 21-27, CCFC reviewed every commercial between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the children's cable networks Nickelodeon, NickToons, Disney XD, The Hub, and Cartoon Network. Of the more than 11,500 commercials that aired on the networks, just over 9,000 were for toys and games. Lego Building Sets -- which were advertised in seven different versions, including highly commercialized kits linked to media properties like Cars 2 and Harry Potter -- were advertised 25 percent more than the second-most heavily advertised toy, Cepia's DaGeDar (331 ads).
If we want companies to stop advertising to kids, we have to stop rewarding the ones that do. Commercialism is toxic for children, and it always gets worse around this time of year. Marketers have transformed the holiday season into a materialistic feeding frenzy, teaching kids that it's all about demanding -- and getting -- 'must-have' toys. Thoughtful consumers already include issues like environmental impact, labor practices and where a product is made in their buying decisions. But most of us don't think about how, where, and to whom, the toys are marketed.
But no we can. The complete list of the "Nagging Nine" is included below. There's even a downloadble wallet-size version.