Commercial Alert, a Washington, DC-based watchdog group that aims to “keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere” is raising alarms about a new children’s book series from HarperCollins. Mackenzie Blue, according to the publisher, is the “charismatic, fashionable and down-to-earth star of this fresh new tween fiction series that chronicles the adventures of a diverse crew of friends who try to survive middle school at the prestigious BrookdaleAcademy.”
The “author” of the series is Tina Wells, chief executive of Buzz Marketing Group, which specializes in marketing to children and adolescents. In announcing the series, HarperCollins notes the book deal includes “dynamic corporate partnerships with an international recording company and a Fortune 500 marketing firm.”
Translation: product placements. Ick.