Fly Pentop Computer

October 18, 2009

MilkMedia has advertised LeapFrog’s Fly Pentop on the side of schoolchildren’s milk cartons. Below are some sample cartons from MilkMedia’s website. Notice the carton on the right has the Spanish word for milk "leche." MilkMedia would have us believe that one word transforms these ads into a "drink more milk" message. It does not. These are product ads and nothing more.

We have some knowledge of this product since we filed a successful CARU complaint in 2006 when Channel One News began advertising it to secondary school students. What MilkMedia has done is even worse, since these ads could be seen by elementary schoolchildren.

The Fly Pentop Computer ($80)

This is a really neat device that knows what you write. For example: you write the number "2" and the "+" sign and "2" again and then "=" and the pen will say "four." Wow. That sounds incredible, but there is a catch.
The problem with this educational toy/computer is it only works with special "Fly Paper." This is paper that has a special grid so the pen can understand what is being written. Ads for the product don’t make that clear. (CARU’s reply to our complaint.) The paper is a big expense, especially for kids, and small ads like these on milk cartons don’t and can’t tell kids the full story.

These milk carton ads are not primarily intended to get children to drink more milk. They are intended to sell children a product. These ads create a curiosity about the product and they encourage a child to log on to the Internet and to visit their web site. (What parent wants their child’s school milk carton telling them to go to various web sites when they get home?)

This is a real good example why advertising on school milk cartons has to end. Children deserve better than this. Kiddie marketers need to be escorted off the school grounds.