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Local group takes action to draw attention to “back-to-school” marketing

August 30, 2009

Yesterday, members of the Stop Targeting Our Kids (STOK) group took action to draw attention to the back-to-school spending pressures that parents and their children face every year.

Jcpenny back to school ad

According to STOK:

  • Companies spend about $17 billion annually marketing to children, a staggering increase from the $100 million spent in 1983.
  • There is an increasing amount of commercialism infiltrating our educational system, particularly at the K-12 grade levels.
  • Children have become primary targets of advertisers who want to reach them every minute of every day, in school and out.
  • Corporations have gained unprecedented access to our schools and children by offering “free” resources in exchange for the opportunity to promote their products.

It is because of this level of advertising that targets children STOK went to the Target and Wal-Mart stores in Grand Rapids to hand out flyers to customers and hold signs for motorists alone Alpine Ave.

STOK members decided to dress like characters from the Harry Potter books/movies to draw attention to their action. Some of the signs they held said, “School is for learning, not chain store earning,” “break the spell of back-to-school spending,” and “Learning is the real Magic.”

For more information on how children are targeted by advertisers go to To contact STOK send an e-mail to

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