Viacom's Nickelodeon and Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network are among five groups named in formal complaints to the Federal Trade Commission accusing them of using digital marketing techniques that violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Berkeley Media Studies Group joined the Center for Digital Democracy and 15 other organizations in filing the complaints.
In light of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to limit the size of sugary beverages and growing concern about the health effects of soda, the beverage industry is scrambling to improve its public image. Part of its strategy involves using corporate social responsibility campaigns to deflect scrutiny. BMSG's Andrew Cheyne explains that these campaigns echo those of the tobacco industry.
Soda companies' "corporate social responsibility" campaigns subtly shift responsibility for healthfulness onto the consumer and away from companies' fattening products, according to a new study from the Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Public Health Advocacy Institute.
Using tactics similar to those of Big Tobacco, other industries are trying to hide the dangers of their products, and public health advocates say they need to be similarly outed and regulated. A paper by the Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Public Health Advocacy Institute points out that soda companies have fine-tuned Big Tobacco's strategies and began using corporate social responsibility campaigns far sooner to try and head off regulation.