Somehow the Walt Disney Co. managed to convince the parents of one-third of America’s babies to spend $200 million a year on Baby Einstein videos. The tapes were supposed to smarten kids up, but watching TV from ages 1-3 could actually cause attention problems. Under pressure, Disney is now offering refunds.
Your little monster might have the disposition of a flea, but at least you can get your $15.99 back.
Americans used to be outraged by the idea of marketing to kids, but then they started buying their pint-sized consumers everything in sight. Disney has obviously had great success selling things to children, but recruiting customers right out of the womb? That takes some chutzpah. —PZS
New York Times:
Last year, lawyers threatened a class-action lawsuit for unfair and deceptive practices unless Disney agreed to refund the full purchase price to all who bought the videos since 2004. “The Walt Disney Company’s entire Baby Einstein marketing regime is based on express and implied claims that their videos are educational and beneficial for early childhood development,” a letter from the lawyers said, calling those claims “false because research shows that television viewing is potentially harmful for very young children.”
The letter cited estimates from The Washington Post and Business Week that Baby Einstein controlled 90 percent of the baby media market, and sold $200 million worth of products annually.
The letter also described studies showing that television exposure at ages 1 through 3 is associated with attention problems at age 7.