Monday, March 01, 2010

Kids' CBC blantantly shills for Kellogg's Eggo Waffles as part of a "healthy breakfast"

CBC Policy 1.3.8: Advertising Directed to Children Under 12 Years of Age,

"The CBC/Radio-Canada does not accept advertising of any kind in programming and websites designated by the CBC/Radio-Canada as directed to children under 12 years of age."
Seems pretty clear to me. No ifs, ands, or buts, the CBC does not accept advertising of any kind for kids under 12.

I guess Kids' CBC is aimed at kids over the age of 12?

I imagine most teenagers and adults can't tear themselves away from the antics of Sid, Mamma Yamma and the Doodlebops.

Why do I say that?

Well the CBC have partnered up with Kellogg's and just last week as part of their product placement agreement Sid, Mamma Yamma and a child guest all sat together to shill for and eat Eggo Waffles in a segment about "Healthy Breakfasts" complete with plenty of plate shots and close ups. There's also that website up above.

So is product placement technically advertising? Absolutely, only it's worse than plain old ads. Product placement takes trusted characters that children and parents have come to know and love and uses them to serve as corporate shills to give the products placed the gleaming sheen of trustworthy endorsement.

The CBC's Kim Wilson the Creative Head of Children and Youth Programming at the CBC explains in the January 2010 Production Notes,
"The spots are called, "Mighty Mamma" and feature Mamma Yamma as a superhero of breakfast proportions who helps kids (and our hosts) learn about breakfast foods and keeping active."
So with Eggo Waffles what has Mamma Yamma endorsed?

If your child eats the recommended serving of 2 Eggo waffles, Yamma Mamma is recommending your child consume: 190 calories of refined white flour containing 430mg of sodium and 32 other ingredients including multiple polysyllabic preservatives and artificial colours.

Funny, when my wife makes waffles at home she uses 6 ingredients, the names of all of which even our 5.5 year old can both read and pronounce, including whole grain whole wheat flour and virtually no salt.

Shame on you CBC.

Want to complain? I sent my complaints to the CBC Kids' department and copied them to the CBC's ombudsman. You can do the same by clicking here.

[Hat tip to a concerned parent whose 6 year old immediately following the segment asked her if they could buy some Eggos]

Bookmark and Share


  1. Anonymous8:37 am

    Do you know an e-mail address where I could write to cbc to complain?

  2. I sent mine to the main email address for CBC Kids and copied it to the CBC ombudsman.

    I've updated the post to include their email addresses

  3. In the US, there's an added ingredient to Eggo Waffles - Listeria...

  4. Anonymous12:48 pm

    my children watch CBC's kids show and love it. we have seen the mighty mamma spots. We are very happy with this campaign because now, we don't have to argue with our kids to eat breakfast! They like to because "Mamma says it's good". They've also learned what makes up a nutritious breakfast. Yes, you're right... Eggo's are not nutritious. But not once have I ever heard them say "go buy Eggo's" (or any other Kellogg product for that matter).
    If a parent won't tell their child "we'll make our own waffles" instead of running out and buying Eggo's, whose fault is that?

  5. Anonymous3:46 pm

    Unfortunately, this is the new reality of public television: selling your soul for sponsorship dollars in order to put programming on the air. The fact of the matter is without corporate sponsorship there would most likely be NO Kid'sCBC! I think the production staff has done an admirable job of pleasing their sponsors while maintaining the integrity of their content. Rather than complain to the CBC ombudsman about a shot of a waffle on a plate, send an email to your MP asking for more funding for CBC kid's programming, so that our national public broadcaster doesn't have to "shill" for corporate dollars in order to nurture our children.

  6. Regarding parenting and kids and breakfasts - I think it's great Yamma Mamma's promoting breakfast but think she could have certainly done that without Kellogg's and Eggo waffles.

    Regarding money, I think the $1.1 billion that CBC currently receives sounds like an awful lot of money to me, especially considering they indeed sell advertising for everything other than their kids programs.

    Much as I appreciate the CBC, I can think of a lot of other things I would want my tax money spent on before upping their budget.

  7. Anonymous7:03 pm

    I think your arguments are ridiculous. Are you angry that you are not receiving endorsement dollars Mr. Freedhoff? As a mother whose child is a big fan of the Mamma Yamma segments, I have never found them to be overly commercial or contain aggressive sponsorship messaging. The fact that they would depict a waffle as part of a potential nutritious breakfast does not strike me as the Nazi-esque type of propaganda you are making it out to be. If a parent is too ignorant to follow common sense on occasional indulgence, then their right to be a parent should be questioned. Quite sad that someone that is so anti industry as you are does not focus on tips and tricks to better incorporate healthy choices into regular routines rather than these pedantic witch hunts.

  8. Anonymous7:45 pm

    Goodwin's Law - "It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact."

    Glad you agree the comparison was appropriate.

  9. Anonymous11:11 pm

    That chicken poo brew looks pretty funny, but endorsing Kellogs is not. Its not only what is bad for you in the food like an Eggo, its the lack of fiber and nutrients that you won't be having as you down the chemicals.

  10. Anonymous9:22 am

    I admire the Mom who made her own waffles when her kids saw eggos on tv.

    However, I must admit that I was a mom who fell for the ad (it is an ad, even if you call it embedded product placement)

    I realized I'd spend more money on eggos but I chose to do that to save time (They do save time and mess!)

    I did NOT check nutrition. I ASSUMED a comercial frozen waffle would be about the same nutrition
    as a homemade one, as long as I got plain ones as not choc chip ones.

    Stupid me!!

  11. Anonymous4:08 pm

    The fact that Kids' CBC has to appeal to ANY sort of corporate sponsorship is a disgrace. As an avid viewer of CBC, I can honestly tell you that some of the best stuff on the entire network comes from the Kids' department. And, judging from the few names I see in the credits at the end of the program, they seem to be able to accomplish a heck of a lot with a very small group.

    Perhaps Mr. Freedhoff should spend his time picking on a more appropriate target, like the CBC executives who greenlight utter garbage for their prime time shows while taking money from the programs that really seem to care.

  12. Roman Korol8:42 am

    I posted the following to the CBC email address you provided:

    As pointed out by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff at the website, the consumption of food of questionable value should certainly not be promoted on a children's program broadcast by the CBC. For your information, some time ago I emailed this note to my children, the parents of my grandchildren:

    Eggo Ingredients (blueberry flavour)
    water, wheat flour, blueberry nuggets (dextrose, sugar, wheat flour, modified corn starch, vegetable oil, dried blueberries, apple fibre powder, natural and simulated flavor, maltodextrin, cellulose gum, citric acid monoglycerides, colour), soybean, palm and palm kernel oil shortening, liquid whole egg, baking powder, sugar, salt, modified milk ingredients, natural and simulated flavour, soy lecitin, contains wheat, egg, milk and soy ingredients.

    According to Dr. Mercola: Processed foods containing cheap, chemical-laden ingredients are a disaster for your health even if you're buying "natural" processed foods. You're routinely ingesting pesticides, antibiotics, hormone-disrupting chemicals, genetically modified organisms, chemical additives, colors and preservatives, and an untold amount of other chemically-derived byproducts and toxins.

    They will eventually take their toll on your body [in the form of cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes] and you'll pay for your dietary choices with both your quality of life and your pocketbook when you get ill.

    So will your children, only all the more so.