I am interested to see that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has taken on Topps marketing as a new campaign, and for good reason. Topps, famous for chewing gum and baseball trading cards, makes a bunch of candies aimed at kids, one of them in the shape of infant feeding bottles. Disney is now using a kids’ music group – the Jonas Brothers – to promote the baby bottle candy. Not a good idea.
In 2007, Michael Eisner, the former head of Disney bought Topps from the family firm that had owned it for decades. Long before the sale, I once had lunch with Arthur Shorin, the former owner of Topps. I was impressed by his responsible attitude about marketing candy to children. He was facing a difficult problem. Without doing irresponsible marketing, he couldn’t sell enough candy to stay in business. Hence the sale to Eisner. At the time, Mr. Shorin said “This will be a change in ownership, not a change in direction.” Well, that’s business for you.
Update February 20: thanks to Dan for the correction. Fixed.