From Publishers Weekly
Like Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation
, Linn is able to write about a subject people care about and avoid the shrillness that can make such books a chore to read. A psychologist and children's advocate, Linn is openly critical of the corporate bottom line and focuses on what will benefit children and families. Her exhaustively researched picture is of a $15 billion industry in near-total denial about the effects it has. Executives traffic in transparently self-serving rhetoric, extolling the educational value of such seemingly bland fare as Teletubbies or claiming to be developing toddlers' incipient need for control. The concept of "prenatal marketing" need not be exhaustively described to send a shiver down the spine of any mother-to-be. Linn points out that successful marketing is often in direct opposition to what's good for society. Sex, violence and sugar-packed snacks obviously hold great appeal for youngsters, and there exists, he says, no countervailing social force to effectively check their influence. Linn demonstrates how marketers research methods to make children more effective naggers-thus undermining parental authority-and TV programming executives spike the chilling metric known as "jolts per minute." Linn works hard not only to put together a truly devastating case against the marketers, but also to couch it in the most reasonable terms possible; indeed, the entire book is really an appeal to common sense: that we as a society take better care of our children. Savvy enough to avoid sounding "like someone's old maiden aunt," Linn presents a socially conscious account that deserves wide exposure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Marketing executives have targeted children as the ultimate consumers because they are easily manipulated and able to extract dollars from their parents to satisfy manufactured desires, often against their parents' better judgment. Linn, psychologist and parent, examines how corporate America exploits children and deliberately infects them with obsessive American consumerism. Linn cites research and behind-the-scenes information on marketing strategies that include emphasis on brand names, extreme individualism, and consumerism and the increasing use of child psychologists to plumb knowledge about the vulnerabilities of children, all with a cynical disregard for their welfare. The campaigns--tie-ins between children's characters and products and fast-food meals--blur the lines between programming, literature, and commercial marketing. Linn critiques parents, herself included, for their inability to protect children from aggressive "guerilla" marketing and offers suggestions on how parents can resist their children's whining for the products they've been encouraged to want and lists resources parents can use to take public action against advertisers. An eye-opening look at marketing to children. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved