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CCFC – The Mouse That Roared

Baby Einstein by khara
Baby Einstein, a photo by khara on Flickr.

Walt Disney is a multi-billion dollar mega-corporation, and according to Wikipedia “It is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue.” Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), on the other hand, is a tiny multi-thousand dollar non-profit who took on Walt Disney… and won.

“Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses. They may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect. “We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been pushing the issue for years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html?_r=1

And it didn’t take long for Disney to take it’s revenge:

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Baby Einstein Refunds

Congratulations to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) !

Note: for a list of studies looking at the effects of TV on very young children see: http://www.tvsmarter.com/documents/young.html

CCFC successfully pressured “the Walt Disney Company to offer a full refund to anyone who purchased a Baby Einstein DVD in the last five years.”

This is in addition to their “2006 Federal Trade Commission complaint” which forced Disney to stop making false claims that Baby Einstein DVDs were educational.

From The New York Times article on the Baby Einstein Refunds:

Last year, lawyers threatened a class-action lawsuit for unfair and deceptive practices unless Disney agreed to refund the full purchase price to all who bought the videos since 2004. “The Walt Disney Company’s entire Baby Einstein marketing regime is based on express and implied claims that their videos are educational and beneficial for early childhood development,” a letter from the lawyers said, calling those claims “false because research shows that television viewing is potentially harmful for very young children.”

Perhaps “Baby Einstein” should be renamed “Baby Bozo” !

But it was the comments that were the most fun, here are a few that I especially liked:

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