The company is offering refunds to anyone who has purchased their insanely popular videos, arguably caving under the pressure of a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The CCFC filed the complaint back in 2006, based on the lack of credible evidence that screen-based media can educate children under two. It wasn’t long before Disney removed educational claims from their Baby Einstein products.
Millions of parents must feel like they’ve been taken for a ride by the media conglomerate. Baby Einstein owns about 90 percent of the baby-targeted media market; roughly one-third of all babies have at least one of the products.
From the CCFC press release:
“We thought that families deserved better,” said Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a psychiatrist at Judge Baker Children’s Center and member of the CCFC Steering Committee. “Marketing of baby videos plays to parents’ natural tendency to want what is best for their children. We believe that in response to our advocacy, Disney is now offering a full refund to parents who bought Baby Einstein videos.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of two.
For its part, Disney refutes the claims, arguing that “Baby Einstein has been under attack by propaganda groups.” There’s nothing quite like using the imagery of extremists assaulting nerdy infants to divert attention from embarrassingly false advertising.
Update: If you’re a Canadian stuck with one of these DVDs, you’re out of luck, unless you purchased it in the past 60 days. Disney has decided that their recall… er, refund program only covers the United States.
“We have no obligation to make history.
We have no obligation to make art.
We have no obligation to make a statement.
To make money is our only objective.”
— Michael Eisner, CEO, The Walt Disney Co., Internal Memo