Feature

The Baby Einstein scandal

Was Disney's "genius" marketing grounds for a mass refund, or should parents have known better?

For years, Disney suggested its Baby Einstein DVDs could make young children smarter, but the American Academy of Pediatrics said kids under 2 shouldn't watch TV at all. With the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood threatening a class-action suit, Disney is offering refunds to millions of consumers. Should parents feel justified cashing in? (Watch coverage of the Baby Einstein community react to the refunds)

Absolutely. The name Baby Einstein is deceitful: Everyone knows that hyperbole is part of advertisement, says Lou Carlozo in Walletpop.  But the name "Baby Einstein" suggests "an undeniable connection between the product and some sort of brain development." It’s an outrageous lie, so Disney should go a step farther and find a more honest name. "'Baby Einstein' Didn’t Make My Kid A Genius ... Duh"

Parents should be embarrassed to collect refunds: "Most parents no doubt understood at some level that Baby Einstein and similar tapes were primarily an electronic babysitter," say the editors of USA Today. So "it's just hard to imagine that many people will claim refunds" --  doing so would just be a public admission of stupidity."'Baby Einstein' flunks the test"

No, the product delivered what parents really wanted -- peace: Parents know that videos don't make kids smarter, says Rachael Larrimore in Slate’s Double X, as surely as they know that Fruit Loops aren't "part of a nutritious breakfast." Most parents didn't expect "any affirmative benefit" from the Baby Einstein DVDs they bought -- they just wanted to distract their kids so they could "shower in peace.""If You're Willing to Admit You Thought a Video Would Make Your Kid Smarter, Disney Will Give You Your Money Back"

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