Raffi Cavoukian didn’t get to be (as The Washington Post dubbed him) “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world” by exploiting his key demo.
And now he wants to make sure corporate America follows suit.
Interviewed on Inside Out, the Bananaphone singer, who has sold more than eight million albums and 14 million DVDs during his 35-year career, discusses the need to protect kids from the perils of Madison Avenue.
“In a respectful, child-honoring culture… there would be legislation banning the direct advertising and marketing to young children, as there is now in the Scandinavian countries and the Province of Quebec, where you can’t advertise to children under 12,” Raffi tells host David Brown.
“I would urge your listeners to contact The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which is doing terrific work in this regard, to try and bring about in the United States legislation that shows corporate respect for the child, to replace the current corporate exploitation.
“It is simply unethical to advertise to those who are too young to understand what they’re being sold,” the Egyptian-born entertainer, who has lived most of his life in Canada, continues.
“My question is, If it’s morally and spiritually repugnant to exploit the innocent, why is it legal? In three decades of doing this work, I’ve never once advertised to children.”
Later Raffi explains when he himself made the decision not to get into bed with advertisers.
“Right from the start, the work was not about money. It was about offering music as a wonderful, joyful presence in children’s lives, as a vehicle for learning.
“So when the opportunities came – and there were many, many offers to do commercial endorsements – my colleagues and I just sort of looked at each other. And it didn’t take us long to say no.”
To hear Raffi’s full interview, click here.
To log onto The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, click here.