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View Full Version : Say goodbye to kids programming?



JediTricks
03-04-2004, 08:00 PM
Just caught this on IMDB:

Amid efforts to restrict certain food advertising on children's television shows, the head of the Association of National Advertisers on Tuesday warned that such efforts "would curtail if not end children's broadcasting on free television and ad-supported cable." As reported in MediaPost's online edition on Wednesday, ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice told a Senate panel that the advertising industry's "self-regulatory system is an active cop on the beat ... working to see that all marketing aimed at children is appropriate." Lawmakers are coming under heavy pressure from some children's advocates who charge that kids are bombarded with ads for high-calorie cereals, drinks and assorted junk food on network and cable programs aimed at them. A New York University study recently concluded that $13 billion is spent annually by the food and drink industries on ads featured in kids shows.
I find this shocking that there is so much advertising money spent trying to get kids to buy junk food, but having watched cartoons lately, I am not surprised at all. However, I would be quite stunned if there were no more kids programming at all (though that'd probably be better for them anyway), my thinking is that the toy industry would simply step up their advertising or the costs of making kids shows would diminish to catch up to the lack of junk food advert dollars.

B'Omarr Monkey
03-04-2004, 08:26 PM
Clearly you've forgotten the 1980s where pretty much every Saturday morning cartoon was little more than a half hour commercial for a toy line: Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, etc. The blatantness of this was frowned upon so heavily that the practice was squashed.

Kidhuman
03-04-2004, 10:12 PM
Holy crap. DOes that mean Cartoon Network will be gone? Nick? That is a huge step.

JediTricks
03-04-2004, 10:44 PM
KH, I think it means they'll be hampered, possibly to the point of adding paid programming during the day. Nighttime advertising for both of them seem to be more adult-oriented anyway, so I'm betting they'll survive on that, and they both have a massive library of already-paid-for shows which is now almost pure profit any time they can get someone to advertise on it at almost any price.


B'Omarr, I think you have that backwards. In the early '80s, the FCC made it legal for cartoons to be themed around a product line and ever since that's the way it's been, from the original He-Man, GI Joe, and Transformers cartoons to today's shows like Transformers: Energon and Pokemon, that ruling has continued to make this practice possible. Hasbro's been at the forefront of this since the beginning, although supposedly Mattel has made more off of He-Man cartoons, and at one point in the early '90s - just after Hasbro bought Kenner - they had an entire 2 hour syndicated block of programming dedicated to several of their toy lines.

plasticfetish
03-05-2004, 05:28 AM
Who are these "children's advocates" anyway?

OK. This whole thing's just gotten to be too totally insane. I don't care how much money "they" spend advertising candy, sugared cereal or fast food... until my kid's old enough to drive himself down the street to spend his own money on the junk, I'm not gonna worry about it. By that time, we'll be out of gasoline and he'll be so fit from walking everywhere, that it wont matter anyway. These kids with diet problems, (and in this case their biggest problem is that their parents don't know how to feed them properly) are gonna eat poorly no matter what's being shown between episodes of "Ed, Edd and Eddie" and "Duck Dodgers."

Grrrrrrr!!!

Yeah fine, no more commercials for mac-and-cheese... great, but please go ahead and show some more of those creepy anti-drug spots that freak my kid out during Saturday morning cartoon time.

Oh, wait! Look, a little digging and I've found out who's behind this...

http://www.cspinet.org/new/200311101.html


Food marketing aimed at kids undermines parental authority and helps fuel the epidemic of childhood obesity, according to a report issued today by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
What? Undermines parental authority? What kind of parent has so little authority that the Trix Rabbit is capable of ruining their kid's life?!?

"Parents are fighting a losing battle against food manufacturers and fast-food restaurants, which use aggressive and sophisticated techniques to get into children's heads and prompt them to pester their parents to purchase the company's products," said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at CSPI and the report's author. "SpongeBob Squarepants, Winnie the Pooh, Elmo, and even sports stars like Jason Giambi are enlisted to push low-nutrition foods on kids."
Seriously... at some point my kid needs to learn how to distinguish between what's real and what's advertising BS. No matter how well these people filter the airwaves to prevent my child from being brainwashed by "aggressive and sophisticated techniques," he's still gonna need to learn right from wrong on his own. As far as "pestering" goes... there's a simple word that ends it, "NO."

It's all so Orwellian. Thanks JT, for the nightmares I'll be having tonight. :dead:

mabudonicus
03-05-2004, 10:06 AM
Yeah, what he said...
The whole idea that there is altruism at any level of the situation is kinda weird...
That "trix rabbit" crack was genuine spit-take material PF :beard:
While trying to protect people, this policy sounds really insidious...
If you look at it in a purely profit-based sense, though, it sounds like a way to both make television distribution more restricted and no doubt more expensive to the consumer.... I saw a ComCast apologist on TV the other night saying that if the disney merger thing happened, vertical integration would make it more efficient, yet consumer prices may still go up IF the consumers wanted to continue to watch great programming, which this guy was implying is the bulk of the price of cable service....

Sounds like air broadcast will be impossible, cost-wise after this, and seein as how people spend outrageous prices for so many other things associated with raising kids, maybe the industry sees this as a way to tap right into that market... you won't mind your cable bill going up, it's for the children, just like halliburton (permission to get rid of whatever offends)

B'Omarr Monkey
03-05-2004, 10:07 AM
My feeling is these decisions are made by people who don't have kids, haven't had kids in a long time, or feel guilty because they are sitting their kids down in front of the tv all day insteqad of interacting with them.

I watched my fair share of tv as a kid and didn't feel compelled to buy every box of cereal I saw, or every toy they showed. The only toys I got excited by in commercials were the same ones that would have appealed to me anyway if I saw them in a store.

This is like the group of people who decide who decide that scenes in movies need to be trimmed so that they don't offend or disturb viewing audiences. Clearly, this group that makes these decisions is capable of watching those scenes deemed too graphic for the rest of us, without becoming unhinged themselves.

You are probably right about that JediTricks, but I know that decisions were made (as for whether legislation was passed, that's another thing) that the situation was getting way out of hand as to the amount of tv shows being made to simply to sell a toy line instead of the other way around. This is why most of those shows went away (at least for a while) and we were able to get series like BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. I think things started cycling back with POKEMON, which is also why Saturday morning is filled with so many bargain basement anime shows as well.

Mandalorian Candidat
03-05-2004, 10:48 AM
I watched my fair share of tv as a kid and didn't feel compelled to buy every box of cereal I saw, or every toy they showed. The only toys I got excited by in commercials were the same ones that would have appealed to me anyway if I saw them in a store.


Ditto.

What, do they think kids are so mindless that they'll be compelled to bug mommy and daddy endlessly for Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Sounds like another substitute for parenting to me.

No thanks, I'll be the dad, not the TV.

Kidhuman
03-05-2004, 01:13 PM
All a kid has to do is watch 1 hour of TV a day. My kids are limited in the Tv they watch during the day. The watch a little when they wake up, play most of the day and do schoolwork. At night usually after dinner is their quiet time, where they sit and watch TV. My son comes running in the room becuase Sunny D says you can win Hulk stuff or Campbells soup is giving away a mansion for a week.

I dont mind the soup but every other food item aimed at kids(Trix rabit, and all) is ridiculous. I dont buy them everything they wqant, but iit does get annoying hearing about it all the time. Walking through the food jobber and hearing this repeatedly is annoying. Most parents will buy the stuff just to shut the kid up, but not me.

I think cereal is way overpriced. A box of Cocoa Pebbles is as much as a huge bag of Malt-O-Meal cereal and its the same damn thing. Maybe, just maybe, if they didnt spend so much money advertising and giving junk away, we could have some decent prices. It is the whirlwind effect.

End babbling rant.

Darth Jax
03-05-2004, 09:52 PM
darn, i must be more suggestible than even the smallest kid because i rush right out and get everything i see advertised on tv. i have closets full of chia pets and products to cover my bald spot. you should see my bathrooms, how they sparkle with all the orange goo i've gotten. my cd player is always stocked full of "singers and songwriters" from the 70's.

is there still a ruling that channels have to air a certain amount of 'educational programming' each week? i remember that being the reason for such things as carmen sandiego and bill nye the science guy getting airtime on saturday mornings

mabudonicus
03-06-2004, 07:49 AM
I recall that,too, Jax... super dave osbourne's show was taken off the air to be replaced by "Carmen Sandiego", and he was so mad that the "sign off" episode was a hilarious parody of lousy, revisionist "history lite" programming for kids... the episode was called "Super Bowl of Knowldege" and was one of the funniest things I've ever seen on saturday morning, easily the most bitter kids show I've ever witnessed, seek it out for a laugh

JediTricks
03-07-2004, 04:57 PM
It's all so Orwellian. Thanks JT, for the nightmares I'll be having tonight. :dead:Any time PF. :D



Seriously... at some point my kid needs to learn how to distinguish between what's real and what's advertising BS. No matter how well these people filter the airwaves to prevent my child from being brainwashed by "aggressive and sophisticated techniques," he's still gonna need to learn right from wrong on his own. As far as "pestering" goes... there's a simple word that ends it, "NO." Here's the thing, if a kid were already a fully-formed person by the time he or she was exposed to this stuff, then I would agree with you, however, children between the ages of 0 and 5 are especially susceptible to that sort of "brainwashing" and it's often a permanent imprint to the way the child thinks. Children raised on TV during this advertising boom really recognize Ronald McDonald more than nearly any other character and often do equate "junk food" with "fun" at the core level - it becomes their nature that they then have to fight to "unlearn" later on and it's very hard to unlearn something at that core imprint level. Right and wrong are subjective and merely controlled by the child's upbringing, it's like Jango & Boba Fett in AOTC, Jango is a killer and Boba is a happy child when he's helping dad kill, just a father and son having a nice day together ;), it doesn't seem "wrong" to Boba at all because he was raised to see things from Jango's distorted perspective. (Not that I cared for this aspect of AOTC or young Boba's on-screen portrayal, but it does fit the context here I think. :D) So with children absorbing those values from TV more and more, the messages become more and more engrained in them as they grow up. For example, I know some kids about my age whose first song was "You Deserve a Break Today" and they still know the words by heart even today. :crazed:

BTW, I'm not condoning those anti-drug ads as an alternative, those things are often confusing and full of inaccuracies, masking the real negative issues with a government-paid-for and -approved, supersimplified, watered-down message, and as you pointed out, traumatizing children at an early age to make the same "core psyche" impact that the junk food advertising does (although often by using negative statements which aren't as affective as the junk foods' positive ones).



Sounds like air broadcast will be impossible, cost-wise after this, and seein as how people spend outrageous prices for so many other things associated with raising kids, maybe the industry sees this as a way to tap right into that market...What I was thinking is that once it becomes financially impossible to tap the free-broadcast and basic-cable at the advertising levels they have, perhaps the costs of producing this programming will go down to meet that level. Granted, a lot of execs will fight that since they are a large portion of where the money goes, but supply and demand suggests that sacrifices be made at one end or the other and I don't think the consumer is going to be interested in footing the bill any higher than it already is.



is there still a ruling that channels have to air a certain amount of 'educational programming' each week? i remember that being the reason for such things as carmen sandiego and bill nye the science guy getting airtime on saturday morningsYes there is, but the industry has perverted this so severely that I don't know if it's still in effect anymore since at one point stuff like Power Rangers was being claimed to have "educational content" - they'd usually toss in an episode about not stepping in front of cars to meet this requirement, thus cheapening the nature of the regulation a la Reagan administration calling ketchup a "vegetable serving" in school lunches.

plasticfetish
03-08-2004, 06:10 AM
Here's the thing, if a kid were already a fully-formed person by the time he or she was exposed to this stuff, then I would agree with you, however, children between the ages of 0 and 5 are especially susceptible to that sort of "brainwashing" and it's often a permanent imprint to the way the child thinks. Children raised on TV during this advertising boom really recognize Ronald McDonald more than nearly any other character and often do equate "junk food" with "fun" at the core level - it becomes their nature that they then have to fight to "unlearn" later on and it's very hard to unlearn something at that core imprint level.
Yes, you're exactly right. Their brains are super absorbent at the most early ages, and for sure, it's extremely important for the parent to meter exactly what and how much of anything that the child takes in. In this case, I suppose it's just that I find it somewhat offensive that these people would rather disguise a problem and effectively limit freedom of choice, than work to create and promote better options. Rather than find ways to insure that all parents know what good nutrition is, or that the parents and the schools have the money to feed these kids properly, they'd rather complain about TV commercials. It's just as shallow (to me) as the message that Ronald is pitching to my kid about good times and happy meals. It's the years following 0 to 5 when the child begins to want to understand moral issues. Right now I spend a great deal of my time explaining the history and motives behind things to my son. Simply explaining to him why "this or that" is an issue, or who's responsible for the noise he hears on TV, etc. Later, when you've gotta do the parent job and say, "No, that's no good." then they're less apt to argue because they know why you're making that call. In this case, I don't have to argue about why we can't eat McDonalds every night or something, because he knows that it's bad for him and why.

Banning the commercials is like telling a kid not to look at a beehive in the backyard when he goes out to play. Unless he knows where it is, what it looks like, why he should avoid it and how to deal with the bees if he can't avoid it, he's just gonna get stung over and over again. So, I do what any good parent should do. I show him the bees, I teach him about what they are and how they live... and then I spray their hive with poison before I knock it down with a broomstick. Silly bees. They're everywhere and they're clever, but the broomstick always wins.

mabudonicus
03-08-2004, 09:11 AM
Great wrap to your post PF:D The only danger is that from our generation I'm not sure that enough people "get" the way stuff kinda works, advertising-wise, and like anything else, a guide that doesn't know the area is useless, it's not everyone that has such perspicacity.
JT- "vertical integration" could have a fairly large role to play in all this.... especially when dealing with the media

JediTricks
03-09-2004, 06:49 PM
Banning the commercials is like telling a kid not to look at a beehive in the backyard when he goes out to play. Unless he knows where it is, what it looks like, why he should avoid it and how to deal with the bees if he can't avoid it, he's just gonna get stung over and over again. So, I do what any good parent should do. I show him the bees, I teach him about what they are and how they live... and then I spray their hive with poison before I knock it down with a broomstick. Silly bees. They're everywhere and they're clever, but the broomstick always wins.I dunno, seems like to me, you don't need the advertising to show him the beehive, the restaurants are the beehive while the advertising is an increasingly-omnipresent and -invasive tool of the bees. They act as if nobody would go to McDonalds if they didn't advertise on kids' TV. To me, this whole thing is like the use of subliminal advertising in movies and TV, such as the "single frame of popcorn" trick - a psychological trick to get a customer to do what the advertiser wants without the customer even knowing where his motivation is coming from. That's something the government has banned in the past because of an unfair advantage over the general populace, so what do you think of the banning on subliminal advertising? How is it different from this kids junk food advertising regulating?

James Boba Fettfield
03-09-2004, 07:14 PM
To me, this whole thing is like the use of subliminal advertising in movies and TV, such as the "single frame of popcorn" trick - a psychological trick to get a customer to do what the advertiser wants without the customer even knowing where his motivation is coming from. That's something the government has banned in the past because of an unfair advantage over the general populace

Wasn't that whole experiment in subliminal advertising revealed to be a lie and that there has never been any evidence to support subliminal advertising?

I suppose that's why the FCC says "whether effective or not" in their ban on subliminal advertising.

Back to your regularly scheduled debating.

JediTricks
03-09-2004, 10:30 PM
I've never heard that claim JBF, but I've seen evidence (both clinical and real-world) to the contrary.

James Boba Fettfield
03-09-2004, 11:48 PM
Not to go off topic, but I found the page I was talking about from my last post.

http://www.snopes.com/business/hidden/popcorn.asp

plasticfetish
03-10-2004, 05:14 AM
while the advertising is an increasingly-omnipresent and -invasive tool of the bees.
We're all doomed! These bees will soon rule the earth!

But (semi)seriously...

so what do you think of the banning on subliminal advertising? How is it different from this kids junk food advertising regulating?
I'm not convinced that subliminal advertising is, was or could ever be the great threat that it was made out to be. It only seems to "work on the weak minded" :) and in most cases it's probably no more effective hiding a message, than it is to slap a big logo on the side of a NASCAR. Besides, ultimately every good ad has subliminal qualities. To draw people's attention into a TV/radio spot, magazine ad or even up to a banner at the top of a Web page ;) without breaking the rhythm of whatever they were initially doing, is the main goal of any ad builder. A good ad camouflages itself as entertainment and tries to enhance the value of whatever medium that it's become a part of. So yeah, there's for sure a kind of subliminal activity going on there... in this case, your brain thinks that the ad is "interesting," so the product must be interesting as well. That's pretty much the basis of advertising, generating interest in a given product, getting people to know and say your name.

Sure, it makes sense that by blocking all of the ads directed toward children in this manner, that it'll eliminate a lot of redundant "name saying." It will help some parents avoid a kind of superficial hassle. But ultimately I still don't think that it'll do anything to enforce the more important ideas, like eating right, getting exercise and generally developing the kind of mental and physical lifestyle that might cause one to be less negatively effected by superficial "threats."

Again, with the bees... leave 'em alone, but teach the kids how to use the spray and broomstick on their own just in case they start to act up. If you can prove that every child in the country is dangerously allergic to bees, then fine... wipe 'em out. I don't really think that's the case though, and I don't think that these ads are, in general, a threat to our children's health.

Kidhuman
03-10-2004, 11:36 AM
We're all doomed! These bees will soon rule the earth!


And here I am allergic to bees. :dead: :dead:

PF is right. By reducing the advertising isnt going to do much. Kids can see McD's from a mile away thanks to their sky high signs. Kids are already embedded with the images and it will take em years to forget it, if at all possible. Cutting them out might save future generations, but as long as there are older siblings, it wont help much.

JediTricks
03-10-2004, 08:55 PM
Not to go off topic, but I found the page I was talking about from my last post.

http://www.snopes.com/business/hidden/popcorn.asp
Interesting, but that Snopes article doesn't make reference to the US government using the Tachistoscope, commonly referred to as the Subliminal Projector, to train soldiers to recognize enemy aircraft during WWII, or the study that laid the principles on which most subliminal response are based from even before that, so it's hard to accept that it is "the truth" in the matter. There are tens of thousands of sources on the web on this issue that don't agree with each other on whether this is real or not, some are crackpots, some are simply regurgitating what Snopes says there, it is far from a lock-solid issue. Anyway, it's not even the issue at hand, subliminal advertising is generally 1/30th of a second while the focus of this thread is often 30 or 15 seconds long.