Sleeping Pills For Kids? The 2007 International Bad Product Awards

The Consumer’s International 2007 International Bad Product Awards are here, folks. Let’s have a big round of applause for:


Why: Recalling 21 million toys in 5 weeks! Way to go, Mattel. Your CEO stonewalled a congressional investigation into product safety and then bragged about his company’s history of flouting consumer protection laws to the Wall Street Journal. Are design flaws in your products killing children and burning down people’s homes? Be like Mattel: Blame China, then apologize for it, then take back the apology. What?

Consumers International says:
“This is a classic case of avoiding accountability and shifting responsibility on a global scale.Wherever the fault lies, the safety of consumers was compromised and this should be the full focus of Mattel’s attention, not finger pointing and not blame dodging.”


Why: Dasani! Even though it’s quite popular in the US , Dasani was laughed off the shelves in Europe (picky, picky) because it contains ordinary tap water.

Consumers International says:
“Sustainable access to essential services, such as water, is a basic consumer right. By bottling up this universal resource to sell back to us, corporations, such as Coca-Cola have created a US$100 billion industry at a time when one billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. Making profits out of increasingly fragile water supplies is unsustainable, irresponsible and against the basic rights of consumers everywhere.”


Why: Advertising junk food to kids. What, you mean huge bowls of sugar aren’t healthy?

Consumers International says:
“CI is committed to stopping the marketing of junk food to children. Together with our membership we are campaigning for international restrictions on marketing to under 16’s, to give our children the chance of a healthy start.”

Takeda Pharmaceuticals:

Why: Marketing Rozarum sleeping pills to kids for “Back to School.” Takeda ran ads that showed images of children, chalkboards and school buses. The commercial said: “Rozerem would like to remind you that it’s back to school season. Ask your doctor today if Rozerem is right for you.”

According to Consumers International, Rozarum hasn’t been approved for use by children.

Consumers International says:
“This case demonstrates the lengths to which some drug companies will go to increase sales of their products, how direct to consumer advertising can promote irrational drug use, and how weak regulation can foster irresponsible corporate behaviour. This company is our overall award winner for irresponsible behavior for 2007.”

There you are, folks. Your worst products of 2007. Remember kids: Shut up, drink your expensive tap water and eat your Frosted Flakes. If you don’t, Santa will bring you a poison Barbie for Christmas and mommy will drug you with sleeping pills.

Coco-cola, Kellogg’s, Mattel and Takeda Pharmaceuticals top the list of international brands guilty of abusing consumer rights
.[Consumers International]


Edit Your Comment

  1. C2D says:

    Simply disturbing.

  2. ptkdude says:

    OK, now this is freaky. My nightly routine is to feed my daughter a bowl of Frosted Flakes then sit her down to play with her Barbies while I swallow a Rozerem with a bottle of Dasani.

    Does this make me a bad consumer?

  3. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I don’t buy that the back to school ad was targeting children. It was targeting the parents of those children.

  4. Manok says:

    I’m buying my son a lawnmower and a weed whacker for christmas. Build some character come spring time. That’s priceless.

  5. MaliBoo Radley says:

    Cheaper than migrant labour.

  6. humphrmi says:

    When I found out Dasani was tap water (oh and the Pepsi product, Aquafina) I stopped buying it. We have a 5 gallon bottled water cooler that we haven’t used now for a month because we heard that tap water is safer than bottled water. We fill a reusable bottle with tap whenever we go out now, the only time we buy water is in situations that carrying your own isn’t easy (i.e. taking the kids to theme parks, maybe once every three years or so).

    I’m not one of those nuts who goes around yelling “boycott so-and-so” but I encourage everyone to avoid buying tap water from Coke and Pepsi.

  7. Meg Marco says:

    @ptkdude: Yes. Feel bad.

  8. Shadowfire says:

    @radleyas: Absolutely. What retard thought this was targeting kids? I mean, parents of kids going back to school don’t have stress?

  9. Blue says:

    Aquafina i can understand. But not knowing Dasani was tap water??? The label has always said…….”Filtered Water”!!!!!!!!!

  10. BigNutty says:

    Every one of these awards puts the blame where it is not deserved.

    1. Mattel imported these toys, your kids are not going to die, just don’t let them eat their toys.

    2. Coca Cola should not be made to feel bad for taking tap water, filtering it, then selling it. This somehow is their fault for lack of drinkable water in third world countries?

    3. Kellogg’s is not responsible because they advertise towards kids so they will in turn bug their parents to buy the product. Do the kids bring home the paycheck then go shopping to purchase this stuff?

    4. Rozarum ads were not marketing to kids. Do your kids go to the doctor and request prescriptions so they can go the the pharmacy and buy the product?

    This is why some kids grow up putting graffiti on walls and go around shooting each other. The parents did not know how to be parents and raise their kids.

    Remind me to never believe anything that comes out of Consumer’s International press release mouth again.

  11. Schmee says:

    I disagree with the dasani, unless they also include nearly every single other bottled water company in existence.

    I also have to agree with Bignutty, these companies are not nearly as at fault as sensationalist media *cough*, and poor parenting.

  12. @Schmee: “Bignutty Develops Cough While Writing About Bad Products! Is Dasani To Blame?”

  13. @Schmee: Oops, I should have written “Schmee Develops Cough”–but on the other hand, making a blatant mistake while being sensationalist only helps make it more amusing.

  14. Womblebug says:

    Amen Bignutty.

    “Making profits out of increasingly fragile water supplies is unsustainable, irresponsible and against the basic rights of consumers everywhere.” I fail to understand how selling American tap water to Americans undermines the world’s water supply. I get so damn tired of this profit=evil nonsense.

    “CI is committed to stopping the marketing of junk food to children. Together with our membership we are campaigning for international restrictions on marketing to under 16’s, to give our children the chance of a healthy start.” So the UN is now going to dictate what American corporations can advertise on American television? Please.

    Enough with the alarmism and nannystating. I don’t want my kid to live on Froot Loops or take sleeping pills, but I can handle that myself, thank you very frickin’ much.

  15. nardo218 says:

    So I’m the only one whose adolescence brought on severe sleeping problems? They’re not marketing to every kid, they’re marketing to kids with problems.

  16. j-yo says:

    If some parents are dumb enough to ask for kids’ sleeping pills after looking at an ad, they probably shouldn’t be breeding.

  17. MaliBoo Radley says:


    Add that to the million fold list I have for people not breeding.

  18. saltmine says:

    @humphrmi: I suppose you’re one of those people that would stop buying tap water and only drink raw milk if you “heard” that that wasn’t safe either.

    There are two common errors people make when discussing bottled/tap waters.

    One, they say that Dasani and Aquafina are just tap water, as if Coke just went to your sink and filled up a bottle and sold it to you. Not the case. Yes they’re from municipal sources, but they’re reverse-osmosis filtered. Look at any store brand bottled water and you’ll find this to be the same case. Are they an evil corporation too?

    Two, they allege that all tap water in the US, no matter where you are, is the same. Yes, in Boston, NY, San Fran, among other places, the tap water is perfectly fine. But I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t drink tap water where I live, in LA. Ever had it in LA? It tastes like tires, and smells like a swimming pool. You can tell me it’s safe all you want, but I ain’t drinkin’ it. I did stop buying bottled water and start buying filters, which works fine. But I will not under any circumstances drink it straight from the tap, not even one gulp.

    Anywhere that you heard tap water is safer for you than bottled water is at best twisting truth, at worst a lying sack of shit. Some people say “bottled water isn’t any safer than tap water,” referring to a case years ago where some bottles of water were found to contain an infectious bacteria. But the truth is, most bottled waters are pretty pure, and if you can TASTE impurities in your tap water, regardless of what the EPA reports might tell you, chances are it’s not “safer” than the bottled one that tastes like nothing.

  19. goller321 says:

    I’d have less of a problem with selling water, if it weren’t in plastic bottles. I also think soda needs to go back to the glass variety with deposits.

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    Let your kids find your pot stash and they’ll never plead for prescription sleep aids again.

  21. Adam291 says:

    I have to disagree. I think the best thing for society is to have all the bratty, whiny kids sleeping rather than bothering me. Kelloggs and that pharmaceutical company should get together and make a sleeping-cereal kind of thing. I’m tired of kids running around and making noise and generally being awake.

  22. rixatrix says:

    @goller321: Come to Michigan. No glass bottles, but plenty of deposit – $0.10. Take back a sack of cans and it’s enough to get you a brand new sugar buzz any night of the week! Now that’s America, baby.

  23. Boy Howdy says:

    Now, I haven’t seen the commercials, but from the description, I’m not convinced that they’re actually marketing the sleeping pills to children.

    If I read that snippet, I’d assume that they were implying that back-to-school season brings on all sorts of extra stress and/or you need to be well rested to deal with all the back to school stuff.

  24. vladthepaler says:

    3 out of 4 of these are only problems because parents can’t be bothered to supervise their children. If these companies are only bad because of widespread bad parenting, the solution isn’t to shame the companies, but to shame the parents. e.g. What a horrible parent you are, letting your child eat such unhealthy cereal!

  25. humphrmi says:

    @womblebug: I’m not as worried about the lack of water in third world countries as I am about the Coke and Pepsi taking from our own (e.g. US’s) dwindling supply of it and then trying to sell it to me. The Great Lakes are shrinking, and within ten years some regions will be baren of their own supply of water and have to import it to meet their basic needs.

  26. joemono says:

    So does this mean the other Rozerem ads are actually targeting Abe Lincoln, beavers, and deep sea divers?

  27. Womblebug says:

    @humphrmi: How is buying filtered tap water different than turning on the tap and drinking an equivalent amount? Aside from possibly moving water from one geographical area to another, I can’t see how bottling tap water changes the water available. I suspect that dwindling water supplies are due to a. poor infrastructure planning accompanied with growth and b. politicing and governmental squabbling. I live in Atlanta, and you can see both of these issues here with our drought.

  28. phantomoftheopry says:

    Dasani isn’t just tap water. It’s tap water with salt added! Yum!

  29. @BigNutty: Little kids stick everything in their mouths. It’s probably a better idea not to buy lead laced products in the first place.

    Aside from possibly moving water from one geographical area to another, I can’t see how bottling tap water changes the water available.
    @womblebug: The complaint is that the bottled water is coming from the local supply, which is shrinking, rather than from someplace water is plentiful. They have a level 2 drought around the Great Lakes right now.

    I would hope that Coke-Cola isn’t bottling water in the Southeast right now since many places are facing the possibility of running out of water completely in 1-3 months.

  30. Mary says:

    Dasani and Aquafina are NOT JUST TAP WATER. They are “filtered” or “purified” water.

    Seriously people, if you’re upset about them selling you the same thing you get in your Brita pitcher, fine. But it is NOT the same as what comes out of your tap. Those waters are very filtered, and have a lot of stuff taken out.

    Not that I care, I think they taste funny. And I don’t really care what’s in my tap water (I know, I’m terrible). But I’m sick of incorrect information getting thrown around like fact. They are FILTERED tap water. It is not the same thing.

  31. iamlost26 says:

    I’ve been drinking tap for about a year now, and other than the difference in taste, I don’t see anything harmful from drinking straight from the tap.

    Do you know how much money goes into purifying US tap water and making sure it’s clean and safe? It’s all money we’re spending, too: our water bill and tax dollars at work.

    Then we’re supposed to go out and spend MORE money to buy “drinking water” that’s safer because they individually wrap each .5 liter in plastic? Not for me. If it’s an issue of taste, then by all means buy bottled water (but you’re basically just buying “flavored water”). But if you think it’s safer, or better for you, try and ask your local water processing plant for information on how drinkable tap water is.

  32. FightOnTrojans says:

    As far as the bottled water is concerned, I am glad that such a thing exists. I personally don’t buy the Aquafinas or Dasanis on a regular basis, but living in disaster-prone SoCal, I am glad that resource is available in the event of an earthquake or other disaster that may compromise the safety of our water supply.

  33. bunnymen says:

    I could give a shit what kind of water they bottle. If I’m in a position where I must purchase a beverage or be thirsty for an indefinite period of time, I’m just glad that a non-sweet option is available. Sure, I’ll gladly take a locally bottled water over Dasani and save a quarter, but…really, who cares?

  34. JayXJ says:

    Why are the cereal straws an issue? Sure they’re marketed towards kids. So is every other toy, kid’s cereal, and candy out there. When my kids ask for theses I say: “No, thoese are not good for you.” end of problem.

  35. iamlost26 says:

    @FightOnTrojans: Of course bottled water is a great thing in the case of a disaster, where the drinking water is contaminated. I live in San Diego, and there have been water warnings for the last two weeks about how certain communities need to drink bottled water because the water was contaminated from the fires. The difference is when people drink bottled water by the case during their everyday life. It creates so much waste, and wastes the consumers money. The only time people should be drinking .5 liter bottled water is when they need water on the go. Otherwise, the 2 gallon jugs or plain tap water should be fine.

  36. Mary says:

    @iamlost26: “But if you think it’s safer, or better for you, try and ask your local water processing plant for information on how drinkable tap water is.”

    That’s actually why I drink tap water. My brother is one of the higher ups at the local water plant back home. I _know_ the tap water comes out of the plant safe and perfectly good for you.

    It’s the pipes it goes through on it’s way to me that make me pause. There’s been a lot of stuff going around lately about pipes in my area contaminating the water with lead and other Very Bad Things.

    That said, I still drink water from the tap. I don’t bother to filter it, I’m too lazy.

  37. FightOnTrojans says:

    Oh man, my wife is one of those that must drink bottled water and won’t go near tap water. She even insists on filling our ice cube trays with water from the 5 gallon jugs we purchase. Imagine the horror on her face when she caught me teaching our daughter how to drink water from the hose in the front yard! This irrational fear comes courtesy of her worry-wart mother.

  38. humphrmi says:

    @FightOnTrojans: And that is probably one of the only valid reasons to bottle water.

    An interesting article about Orme, Tennessee: the town has run completely out of it’s own water supply. 140 miles away, Coke bottles all the water they can pull out of the Atlanta water system.