Multinational Monitor

JUL/AUG 2008
VOL 30 No. 1


No Escape: Marketing to Kids in the Digital Age
by Jeff Chester and Kathryn Montgomery

The Youngest Market: Baby Food Peddlers Undermine Breastfeeding
by Annelies Allain and Joo Kean

Intoxicating Brands: Alcohol Advertising and Youth
by David Jernigan

How Things Work: The FTC's Revolving Door
by Robert Weissman

Fighting Demons: Addressing the Perils of Financial Innovation
by Richard Bookstaber


Commercializing Childhood: The Corporate Takeover of Kids' Lives
an interview with Susan Linn

Pill Pushers: Pharmaceutical Marketing in an Overmedicated Nation
an interview with Melody Petersen

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
an interview with Bill Talen

The Debt Creators: Shady Lending, Misleading Marketing and Hard Times
an interview with José García


Letters to the Editor

Behind the Lines

Marketing Mania, Commercial Colonization

The Front
Freedom Flows in South Africa | Development and the Desert

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Greed At a Glance

Commercial Alert

Names In the News


Marketing Mania


No Escape: Marketing to Kids
in the Digital Age

by Jeff Chester and Katbryn Montgomery

With the proliferation of media in children’s lives, marketing now extends far beyond the confines of television and even the Internet, into an expanding and ubiquitous digital media culture. The new “marketing ecosystem” encompasses cell phones, mobile music devices, instant messaging, videogames and virtual, three-dimensional worlds. New marketing practices in these diverse media environments are fundamentally transforming how corporations — notably including food and beverage companies — sell to young people.

The influx of brands into social networking platforms — where they now have their own “profiles” and networks of “friends” — is emblematic of the many ways in which contemporary marketing has all but obliterated the boundaries between advertising and editorial content. The unprecedented ability of digital technologies to track and profile individuals across the media landscape, and engage in “micro” or “nano” targeting, raises the twin specters of manipulation and invasion of privacy. The growing use of neuropsychological research suggests that digital marketing will increasingly be designed to foster emotional and unconscious choices, rather than reasoned, thoughtful decision making. MORE>>

The Youngest Market: Baby Food Peddlers Undermine Breastfeeding

by Annelies Allain and Yeong Joo Kean.

Scientific evidence from hundreds of studies over the past 25 years confirms that breastfeeding — and especially exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a baby’s life — is the optimal way to nourish and nurture infants. Breastmilk contains all the essential nutrients babies need, as well as antibodies that counter infection. No infant formula made of cow’s milk, soy or other ingredients can ever equal this natural way of feeding.

Recognizing the severe health harms stemming from the use of breastmilk substitutes, public health campaigners starting in the 1970s began focusing on why mothers were giving substitutes instead of breastmilk to their babies. What stood out — and continues to stand out — is the role of baby food companies in convincing new mothers to use a nutritionally inferior product. A long, ongoing campaign to eliminate inappropriate marketing has ensued. MORE>>

Commercializing Childhood: The Corporate Takeover of Kids’ Lives

An interview with Susan Linn

Susan Linn is associate director of the Media Center at Judge Baker Children’s Center and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is also co-founder and director of the coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). She is the author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World (2008) and Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (2004). MORE>>

Pill Pushers: Pharmaceutical Marketing in an Overmedicated Nation

An interview with Melody Petersen

Melody Petersen covered the pharmaceutical beat for The New York Times for four years. In 1997, her investigative reporting won a Gerald Loeb Award, one of the highest honors in business journalism. She is the author of Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs  (2008).



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