Are you there God? It's Me, Lashexact Mascara
This month, "Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233," hits bookstore shelves. And some fear young adult novels will never be the same again.
The publisher of Cathy's Book, Running Press which is part of Perseus Books Group, has forged a marketing partnership with Cover Girl Cosmetics, owned by Proctor & Gamble, to mention Cover Girl products such as Lipslicks lipstick in the book. P&G is not paying Running Press, but it plans to showcase the book on a Web site aimed at teenage girls.
P&G wasn't as bold as jewelry maker Bulgari, which in 2001 actually contracted novelist Fay Weldon to mention their jewelry in her novel, "The Bulgari Connection" at least a dozen times. The book was initially supposed to be distributed to select Bulgari clients but ended up being published in the U.K. and the U.S.
In the case of Cathy's Book, the manuscript had been written already before a Cover Girl marketing manager got a copy of it and approached the authors, Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. Weisman told the New York Times in June that Cathy was already giving makeup tips in the book, "so, it seemed like there was a natural connection there."
For children's advocates, Cathy's Book is a new low in kids marketing. They contend children are already exposed to ads worked into video games, television shows and movies, not to mention while they're at school and even riding the bus. Books are the last refuge from advertising.
"Books are an incredibly personal medium, and introducing product placement into a children's book is a troubling trend that will open up the door to advertisers hungry for an effective way to reach new and impressionable consumers," Association of Booksellers for Children executive director Kristen McLean said in a statement on the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood Web site.
The CCFC and the ABC are gathering signatures for petitions and launching an e-mail and letter writing campaign.
Do you think "Where Are You God? It's Me Margaret" would have been the same if Margaret had plugged Kotex?
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