This move captured the ire of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which insisted that the "last thing children need is more commercial media."
The CCFC — which does some wonderful work aimed to counter the harmful effects of marketing to children — contacted its followers to urge them to write to PBS to ask that its websites remain commercial-free. In fact, the organization invited fans to "Tell PBS: Don’t Sell Out Children on the Web!"
The organization notes that parents look to PBS "to provide quality commercial-free media for their children," but it insists that increasingly, it’s "getting difficult to distinguish PBS from for-profit companies whose primary mission is deliver kids to advertisers.
"PBS’ children’s programming already includes commercials. Beloved characters like Elmo and Clifford have been licensed to market thousands of products. And now children will be targets for commercial marketing whenever they visit PBS websites."
In imploring fans to write PBS, the children’s advocacy group was zeroing in on one of society’s most important problems. Excessive marketing to kids has been blamed as a prominent factor in the development of childhood obesity.
Incidentally, the organization is now gearing up for its 5th Annual "Consuming Kids" Summit to help "Reclaim Childhood from Corporate Marketers!"
Here’s more info about this event, which takes place at Wheelock College, Boston from October 26-28.