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Kids Learn Target Marketing from the FTC

Kids Learn Target Marketing from the FTC
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Scott Ballum
  • 25 february 2009

Competition? Mergers? Supply and demand? Find our what’s cooking at the Food Court. These are the kind of directions you’ll find as you make your way through the Saturday Morning Cartoons style website You Are Here, created by the Federal Trade Commission to teach kids how marketing and advertising are influencing the way they shop.

On the site, excuse me, “in the mall”, kids can create their own ads for shoes, hear directly from the cartoon doctor who endorses the vitamins at a nutritional emporium, and find out what happens when small retailers get bought up by bigger corporations. What’s most surprising is how advanced and direct most of the lessons are, as well as the lack of any overt bias. Says one purple Fraggle-like character, “this site was created to teach kids how to be smarter consumers. The Federal Trade commission wanted to provide a fun way for kids to learn some pretty important things about the marketplace, and what a better place to learn than here at the mall?”

Information for parents and teachers is available for download, and a special section lays out just what, in fact, the Federal Trade Commission does (“Its job is to make sure companies compete fairly and don’t mislead or trick people about their products and services.”) The information page goes on to layout the Commission’s structure:

It’s run by five Commissioners, nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress. Each Commissioner serves for a seven-year term. The President chooses one Commissioner to act as Chairman. No more than three Commissioners can be of the same political party… About 1,200 people work at the FTC in Washington, DC and several cities across the nation. Most of them are lawyers and economists, but there also are paralegals, graphic and Web designers, writers, marketers, librarians, people who manage databases of complaints, keep track of all the FTC’s legal files, work with the media, work with Congress, and support all the work of the entire agency.

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