Monday, November 13, 2006

Wal-Mart's 'wish-list' tactic earns parents ire

Canada.com reports that Wal-Mart's marketing tactic of sending children's wish lists to their parents, has earned them some bad press. The company had earlier launched a new toy website where children are encouraged to review toys and send a wish list of toys they would like for Christmas to be sent to their parent's email address.
"The child has no choice," said Ottawa's Camille Lechasseur, a mother of two girls, aged two and five. "These toys appear `Do you want it, yes or no.' What child wouldn't want it? It's trying to dupe the parents that it's their child's choices. That's laughable."

Kessa Edwards of Calgary said the toyland site takes marketing to kids to a new level. "I was actually quite shocked by it," Edwards said. "Just the fact that kids can have an e-mail sent to their parents. I haven't seen anything like that before."

She is particularly dismayed by the value of some of the products peddled on the site, including the Little Tikes H2 Hummer Ride-On for $199.77. "I really felt that they were really putting ideas into kids' heads," said Edwards, the mother of a five-year-old girl.

They are among the parents who have signed on to the "Tell Wal-Mart Nagging is a Family Value" campaign, launched recently by the Harvard University-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a coalition of health-care professionals, educators, and parents. The group is asking Wal-Mart to shut down the site.

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