March 5, 2008

Baby Einstein Tweaks Copy, Dodges FTC Complaint, Drives Anti-TV Activists Cuh-razy

baby_einstein_history.jpg

from the Baby Einstein website circa 2004

VICTORY! [Cue crickets]

From the tree falling in a forest department, we learn that "The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is claiming victory after Baby Einstein quietly changed its website to remove assertions that its eye-catching array of colourful videos can help develop cognitive skills in the very young."

"Colourful"? No, you don't need to adjust your spellcheck; this report is from Canada, and the changes to product descriptions--removal of claims that, "Baby Wordsworth 'fosters the development of your toddler's speech and language skills' and Numbers Nursery will 'help develop your baby's understanding of what numbers mean.'"--happened a few months ago during a Baby Einstein website redesign which the company insists was unrelated to the FTC complaints.

The only other mention of this "victory" so far is from Seattle News-Intelligencer reporter Paul Nyhan, who has been covering the educational baby video beat since before University of Washington researchers published a study that linked infant TV-watching to smaller vocabularies. The survey mentioned Baby Einstein by name and provoked a blistering response from Disney CEO Bob Iger--which sounded awesome but had no research at all to back up the ever-shifting developmental claims Baby Einstein was founded on.

einstein_meaningful_moments.jpg

About that new website, by the way: it's freaking awesome--in its ability to drive the activists crazy. After a decade of educational claims, and with the associative power of the Einstein brand, Disney doesn't even need to make educational or developmental claims for Baby Einstein videos anymore. Instead, they're selling "meaningful moments." Which could be you and the kid watching a DVD with a "Newport - Alive With Pleasure" look of excitement on your faces, but which we all know is the thirty minutes of shower and email while the kid's zoned out in the other room.

Firm alters claim that its DVDs educate infants
Infant DVDs won't mould a baby Einstein [CanWest via CCFC]

Previously: Study: The ADHD Comes On Little Bear's Feet
Whoa, Baby Einstein Has A Posse

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