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NYT, June 24th, 2009, 3:17 PM
By Brooks Barnes
A Harvard-based children’s advocacy group is stepping up its confrontation with movie studios over how PG-13 films are marketed.
Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood on Wednesday sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and the Bureau of Consumer Protection demanding that the government take action to assure that films rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America are not marketed to young children. The organization complained that the FTC’s exhortation to the movie industry in 2007 to address concerns over the marketing of such sexualized and violent movies through self regulation has failed.
“The M.P.A.A. still has not done what the FTC urged it to do: adopt an explicit policy, incorporating objective criteria, for the marketing of PG-13 films,” the 10-page letter reads.
Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is particularly concerned about the marketing of PG-13 movies through fast food toy giveaways and the sale of licensed merchandise, particularly the advertisement of such offers on television. The organization presented the government agencies with research it has conducted about four PG-13 movies that have been released since May 1.
Researchers for the organization monitored ads for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Star Trek,” “Terminator Salvation” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. with a heavy eye on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, which typically target children age 6 to 11. Between March 17 and June 14, the group counted 2,734 commercials for the films, their licensed toys and related fast-food promotions. (Not included: ads for branded food products like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” M&Ms.
A representative for the FTC could not be immediately reached for comment. A spokeswoman from the M.P.A.A. had no immediate comment.
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
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