Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Einstein May Not Make Your Kids Smarter!

Meredith Miller over at the Contracts Blog reported on this little dispute that Disney has had with a consumer group over its Baby Einstein products. See, Miller, Important Consumer Alert. I have to admit that we own about fifty of these dvds that came in a set and my little guys loved them. Are they smarter as a result of Baby Einstein? Well, of course I think they are . . . I can say the kids like the classical music and I play them in Spanish so that they dvds reinforce the second language they are learning.

From Disney's website:

For the past several years, Baby Einstein has been under attack by propaganda groups taking extreme positions that try to dictate what parents should do, say and buy. Our philosophy has always been to focus on creating products that parents and babies love, and to not get sidetracked and pulled down into their street fight.

Unfortunately, with Susan Linn’s latest stunt, we cannot be silent any longer. Linn’s obvious dislike for Baby Einstein has now turned into a sensational, headline-grabbing publicity campaign that seeks to twist and spin a simple, customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt. This is clearly not the case.

Linn’s moves are carefully crafted to prey on parental guilt and uncertainty. This time, she began by asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to go after Baby Einstein because, she said, we claimed that Baby Einstein was educational. But we do not make any such claim – and the FTC brought no action.

Not content to rely on the judgment of the federal government, her attacks continued and escalated despite the fact that her assertions have no merit.

That’s where we are today. However, we took a very different approach. We strongly believe that, unlike Linn, our consumers find value in our product, and rather than continue to fight with her, we decided to leave it up to those consumers. That is why we extended a refund policy that was already in place. Although she would like to claim otherwise, there is nothing extraordinary about a company’s willingness to stand behind its product. To the contrary, it is the strongest possible show of confidence in it.

Baby Einstein announced this offer in a press release issued on September 4, 2009, which was largely ignored by the media. Linn’s latest public relations blitz simply distorts the facts and misleads the public. In the end, this smear campaign has everything to do with Linn trying to generate ink and funding for her cause, and not about the value that consumers find in our product.

Thank you for letting us set the record straight.


Susan McLain
General Manager, The Baby Einstein Company
Not being a big fan of television for kids, we actually found the Baby Einstein dvds had some positive, if not wholly education components. But, clearly there is a difference of opinion. It is difficult to make this really a good case of a breached warranty. It would have to be an express warranty (affirmation of fact) under UCC 2-313. The case that the dvds did not make your kids smarter would seem to have problems on the arguments of opinion, puffery and the like. Disney has put a stop to any claims by just offerring the refund.

In case you want your refund, see

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