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Censorship and Sponge Bob?s Evil Empire

January 23rd, 2006 by Bob Bly

According to an article in the Daily News (1/19/06), the Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing both Nickelodeon and Kellogs for advertising Frosted Flakes on the cartoon TV show ?Sponge Bob Square Pants.?

They contend that it?s immoral and harmful to use a popular cartoon character to convince kids to eat ?junk food.?

What planet do these people live on? Compared to other stuff my kids eat, like candy and soda, Frosted Flakes are health food. Yes, they have sugar. But cereal is good for kids to eat — they get fiber and vitamins — and they consume milk with it.

To me, this lunacy is an example of censorship gone over the edge. Do you agree?


This entry was posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2006 at 10:27 am and is filed under Advertising. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

83 responses about “Censorship and Sponge Bob?s Evil Empire”

  1. richard said:

    I disagree, Bob. I would never consider Frosted Flakes to be anything like a health food – the vitamins are artificial and should be provided in other parts of the diet (fresh vegetables and fruit etc) and the milk can be got from, well, milk.
    While kids can go with more sugar than us older types, they get way too much in one hit from a bowl of cereal. Slow-release carbs would be better for breakfast from, say, a banana.
    I don’t think these sort of cartoon characters should be advertising this sort of stuff – but it’s not as bad as sports stars advertising junk food, or sports events being sponsored by junk food pushers. Don’t get me started…

  2. Dave J. said:

    Its grandstanding and a PR show.

  3. Danny said:

    Frankly, I was more disturbed when Joe Namath was shilling pantyhose for Hanes.

    Where was the CSPI then?

  4. Brian Clark said:

    First of all, Bob, don’t let my wife hear you say your kids eat candy and soda. She’ll launch into a tirade about how awful that is for kids, and I’m sure she would include this type of cereal.

    She’s the “tough” parent between the two of us.

    But that’s the real point, isn’t it? These groups file lawsuits because parents don’t simply tell their kids no, or maybe the parents don’t care. It’s doesn’t seem to bode well for personal responsibility when the Center for Science in the Public Interest is trying to essentially parent our kids.

  5. Mark said:

    Hi Bob,

    My answer to this is so long and involved I could turn it into a book. No … *seriously* … a book. I’m a home-schooling father of five and it would be great to meet up with you and compare notes. Any ideas?


  6. Allison S. said:

    Being a mom and hopefully a realist, I think it is addressing a point that needs to be dealt with. TV has used children’s programs forever, to market to the children. I think it is wrong to try and sell to impressionable kids and feed them desire for junk of all types. Fruit roll-ups to Barbies, or whatever the most popular trend is — it just isn’t right, and it does not help the child’s healthy development. I doubt there is any more effective channel into the children’s brains than endless commercial ads, but it is just wrong to prey on them. (I won’t talk about attention span decrease.)
    The hard answer is unplug your TV.

  7. Victor said:

    These folks have too much time on their hands and nothing better to do with it. Sure looks like “political correctness syndrome” gone astray again.

  8. Barry Zweibel said:

    Sponge Bob is one of the best marketers in the world. His face is on almost EVERYTHING! He reached a whole new level of sophistication, though, when he added his endorsement to … can you guess … kitchen sponges!

  9. Pam said:

    When I was little, my mother never bought sugared cereal. But when I think back on the cupfuls of sugar I dumped onto my Cheerios, I’m 100% sure that my glucose intake would have been lower if she’d just bought us the Coco-Puffs.

  10. Marianne said:

    I was thrilled the other day when my 13-year-old daughter, who rarely eats breakfast, asked me to buy Frosted Cheerios. Is Sponge Bob selling them too? Sweet cereals aren’t the healthiest products in the world, but I agree that they beat soda, candy & cookies by a mile. Let’s face it, we boomers grew up in the 60’s & 70’s eating that stuff & most of us still have all our teeth and are stronger & healthier than our parents were at a comparable age. I’d rather see them stop the horribly violent images that come on in ads during prime time–the ones that make my kid cover her eyes.

  11. Mara said:

    There was a debate about the Irish Censorship laws 50 years ago or so (it may have been more). There was a debate with an Irish author who was well-respected outside of Ireland, and banned in it.

    The resolution of the debate was “Irish Censorship is an insult to Irish intelligence.”

    Frankly, 50 or more years later, I’m of the opinion that censorship in general is an insult to people’s intelligence.

  12. isaac said:

    I dont think its right that they are sueing nick just for something this small compared to what else is on T.V nowadays. I mean finally something clean to watch. Ive asked college students what they’ve thought of it and they love it. They say it relieves stress becuase its so funny. Why dont they start telling the advertising companys to stop showing discusting seens on comercials. If they want something to complain about.

  13. shouldntbehere said:

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