PUBLIC INTEREST GROUP ATTACKS INTERACTIVE MARKETING

Alleges Some Techniques Pose Risks to Children

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The growing number of new interactive marketing techniques aimed at children poses "significant risks" to those youth, a public interest group
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audio bug The CDD letter to the FTC.

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charged in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission today.

The letter, from Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, to the chairman of the FTC, was released in advance of a news conference scheduled for tomorrow.

The FTC has not returned calls seeking comment.

'Aggressive' practices
Mr. Chester said, "In light of the aggressive marketing practices that the new digital technologies have unleashed ... it is now time to re-evaluate the ways in which we shield young people from the excesses of the immersive, interactive media environment."

Countering Mr. Chester's assertions, Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, called his letter a "classic example of verdict first, trial later."

Laws on the books
Mr. Jaffee said the Center for Digital Democracy was portraying "all interactive advertising as though it is an illicit activity." He said existing FTC and privacy laws already adequately handle the issues raised in the letter.

In the letter to the FTC, Mr. Chester said, "We believe that these targeting and data collection strategies, in combination with the pervasiveness of interactive advertising within the child and youth media markets, have created a new commercial media environment that poses significant risks to the psychosocial development of youth ... [and] hope that the Commission will join with us in asking that the advertising and marketing industry declare a moratorium on any marketing techniques that -- in the absence of independent research suggesting otherwise -- could potentially harm or negatively affect children and youth."

The other organizations scheduled to take part in tomorrow's news conference are Children Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

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