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Agencies told to take marbles and scram

Children's advocates plan to demonstrate in New York this week against the Third Annual Golden Marble Awards, which celebrate advertisements targeted at children.

Several university professors worked together to arrange the demonstration because "intensive marketing harms children," says Dr. Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Judge Baker Media Center. "Advertising harms children's health, harms their safety, harms their creativity, their family life and their sense of well-being. And there's a growing body of evidence, including the FTC report that is coming out, to support what we are saying."

Organizers of the awards say they have not talked to the demonstrators, but "we're on their side," says Shelley Middlebrook, senior vice president and group publisher of Brunico Communications Inc., a Toronto-based magazine publisher. "When we developed the awards, part of the mandate was to judge them on work that educated or informed children. As a whole, the group is trying to raise the bar."

Several New York-based ad agencies are helping put together the awards, including Griffin Bacall, Saatchi & Saatchi, Gepetto Group and Gray Advertising.-P.A.