As a result of CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, Baby Einstein has completely redesigned its website and is no longer making educational claims about its DVDs and videos. In 2006, CCFC filed an FTC complaint against Baby Einstein for making false and deceptive claims about the educational value of their products. In December, the FTC decided not to take enforceable action against Baby Einstein when the company promised to “take appropriate steps to ensure that any future advertising claims of educational and/or developmental benefit for children are adequately substantiated.” Since no substantiation exists, Disney will not be able to claim that the videos have educational value.
We are deeply troubled that the FTC failed to hold Disney accountable for years of deceptive marketing; essentially, the FTC is telling corporations that it’s okay to lie to parents because if you get caught there will be no consequences as long as you promise not to do it again. At the same time, we are proud that CCFC’s complaint spurred substantive changes to the Baby Einstein website. Gone are claims such as the description of Baby Wordsworth as a “rich and interactive learning experience that … fosters the development of your toddler’s speech and language skills,” or that Numbers Nursery will “help develop your baby’s understanding of what numbers mean.”
Thanks to all of you who urged the FTC to act on our complaint and shared your experiences with Baby Einstein with the Commission.
The FTC’s response to CCFC is available at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/lettertoccfc.pdf.
The FTC’s response to Baby Einstein is available at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/babyeinstein.pdf.
CCFC’s original complaint against Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein is available at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/babyvideos/ftccomplaint.htm.