Edward Cohn

Recent Articles


Consuming Kids Over the past decade, advertising to children has climbed to new heights--or, rather, descended to new depths. According to the Center for a New American Dream, American companies spend about $2 billion each year advertising to kids--more than 20 times what they spent 10 years ago. James U. McNeal, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, says that advertisers treat children as three markets simultaneously: as a primary market, as influencers of their families' economic decisions, and as the "market of the future." The result is an all-out blitz on children's minds. With such heavy competition, advertisers are desperate for any advantage they can get, and some psychologists are happy to help them. After all, what could help advertisers more than the latest information on children's cognitive development and emotional vulnerability? Some corporations employ psychologists on their marketing teams; others turn to...

Devil in the Details

Marketwatch It's a familiar story: this summer, two more professional athletic teams sold stadium- naming rights to publicity- hungry corporations. For a cool $80 million, the Nashville Predators- an expansion team in the National Hockey League- agreed to name their new arena the Gaylord Entertainment Center, while the National Football League's Tennessee Titans were paid $30 million to dub their home stadium the Adelphia Coliseum. A majority of the nation's professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey teams now play in arenas named for corporations, and the percentage is likely to grow. There's already talk that the naming rights for the venerable Yankee Stadium and the proposed new Fenway Park will soon be up for grabs. And the Boston Celtics just announced (for an amount, sources told The Boston Globe, between $8 and $12 million) their practice facility will be called the Sports Authority Training Center at Healthpoint. Sports purists cringe when the fabled ballparks of...

eBay's Hate Sale

Web-savvy readers know that one can buy almost anything on the web these days, but one recent auction on the Internet site eBay marked a new low. The item in question was a set of "controversial" domain names, most of them related to the Ku Klux Klan. For a minimum bid of $500,000, would-be buyers could purchase a package of 104 names, ranging from longlivethekkk.com and GrandWizardkkk.org to trykukluxklan.net. The auction description even had separate appeals to "hate supporting" and "peace supporting individuals"; buyers could purchase the sites either to air their own opinions or to keep them out of the hands of hate groups. The owner, Roschell Stoner of Spring, Texas, denied that there was anything unseemly about the sale. "We do not support hate groups, or any others," she said. "We invested in this, just like any other investment... We just found that this was one more area where there was a profit to be made." Stoner said she and her husband buy and sell domain...

A Conversation with Louis Dubose

Louis Dubose ["El Gobernador" TAP Vol. 11 Issue 1] is the editor of The Texas Observer and the co-author (with Molly Ivins) of a forthcoming book on George W. Bush. He recently spoke with Edward Cohn, a staff writer at The American Prospect , about his article on Bush and the Hispanic vote and on Texas politics in general. EC: Your article describes George W. Bush's campaign to win the Hispanic vote in Texas. Are these efforts a good guide to the future- both in terms of how he'll campaign and in terms of how successful he'll be? LD: Bush's Hispanic campaign was a calculated effort to prepare for a presidential run. I think it will make some difference. He's going to carry Texas- since the national Democratic party hasn't spent money here for years, and won't this time around- but his effort to court Hispanics could pay off elsewhere, too. Andy Hernandez, a political demographer at St. Mary's University, thinks that it could really make a difference in Midwestern states like Iowa and...

Devil in the Details

Hanging with Bill Bradley and Dr. J; Green Republicans; Vouchers in Wisconsin; Marketwatch.

Marketwatch: Teaching Products "If it can't be grown, it has to be mined." This slogan is the centerpiece of a "Teacher Helper" packet on earth science produced by the Mineral Information Institute (MII), a nonprofit organization founded by several mining companies and trade groups to distribute free classroom materials to schools nationwide. Did you know that over its lifetime, a baby will need 579,655 pounds of coal? Or that "[w]hen a mine is finished, it will be reclaimed so it can be used again, either by man or by nature"? MII even offers teachers a special deal: Show your class the video Common Ground: Modern Mining and You, ask your students to write stories or draw pictures related to mining, bring those projects to a local mining center, and you'll receive $100 for your classroom. MII brags that over 27,000 teachers receive its materials. MII is just one of the many organizations that produce corporate "sponsored educational materials," or SEMs