About six years ago, my husband and I decided that in order to get our children away from the influence of marketers, we were going to get rid of commercial television. We canceled the cable TV and because we had no antenna on our television, even the basic stations didn’t work. We went back to cable for a while, but we rarely watched anything on it, and it’s gone again. Keeping advertisements away from our boys worked well for us. We noticed that they weren’t asking for toys or junk food as often.

I was thinking about that when I read that MOM’s Organic Market, a grocery chain in the Baltimore/D.C. region, is taking it’s own measures to get rid of advertising that’s aimed at children. It has chosen to discontinue “products with packaging that features cartoon characters from children’s books, films and TV.” The stores will replace the products with organic replacements that have cartoon-free packaging.

The founder and CEO of the market, Scott Nash, doesn’t just think marketing aimed at children is wrong; he says he thinks it should be illegal.

I’ve thought a lot about that. Should marketing aimed at children be made illegal? That question could start a very heated debate at your next dinner party, don’t you think? It would take a convincing argument in our country to sway most people that it should be, even me. Not because I think that children should be the targets of aggressive advertising, but because I’m more comfortable with people making their own choices instead of being forced to do so by the government.

I think what MOM’s Organic Market is doing is great. The people who run the company think something is wrong, and they’re exercising their ability to change it in their stores. It’s no different than when my family got rid of cable six years ago. But if the government told me cable was illegal to have in my house because of the influence it might have over my children, I’d have had a big problem with that.

What do you think? I’d guess that most of the readers of this blog aren’t big fans of advertising that targets children (even on organic products). But, do you think that it should be done away with entirely?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Should marketing ever be targeted to children, even for healthy foods?
A family-owned chain of organic supermarkets has decided not to sell products with cartoon images on them, even if the products are healthy.