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Friday, May 23, 2008

Movies & Merchandise: Marketing PG-13 Movies --- to 3 Year Olds?



The "Indiana Jones" series has the dubious honor of ushering in the PG-13 rating. After the second installment ("Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" 1984) concerned parents demanded the MPAA create a rating to protect their kids from violent and graphic images. Thus was born the PG-13 rating.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, Batman, Indiana Jones, and the final installment of Star Wars all carried the PG-13. According to the MPAA, the PG-13 rating is a warning: "PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED — Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13." Yet each of these movie franchises, designed for teenagers and adults is aggressively marketed to children, including young children.

Fast food promotions, commercials during children's programming, Lego characters, and - of course - toys are all part of the commercial juggernaut. These photos, taken in the toy departments in Wal-Mart and Target, could have been taken anywhere.


The packaging reminds parents that the "Cemetery Warrior" from "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is for "Ages 4+"


If the "Cemetery Warrior" is a bit too realistic for your four year old - no problem - how about these "cute" versions of characters "Mutt Williams" and "Irina Spalko"? The packaging says these toys are for "Ages 3+".

Does anyone else think it's strange that a movie that "strongly cautions" parents regarding material inappropriate for children under 13 has toys designed for 3 year olds?

Apparently so. After writting this blog, I noticed similar comments from in the Los Angeles Times from columnist John Horn: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-word5-2008jun05,0,336906.story

Ten years ago, during President Clinton's administration, the federal government took legal action against the marketing of cigarettes to minors. Remember "Joe Camel"? In addition, the entertainment industry got into the act and made it taboo for smoking to be shown in any G or PG movie. Some have even called for a movie showing smoking to automatically receive a R rating.

I'm not holding my breath for any sort of similar ban to occur with the marketing tie-ins based on current "action/adventure" films. But how would we feel about cigarettes being once again marketed to children?



"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Prov. 22:6

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