Zillions, originally titled Penny Power, was a children's magazine published by the Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports.[1] Founded in 1980, at its peak, the magazine covered close to 350,000 subscribers.[2]

It gave children financial advice for budgeting their allowances and saving for a big purchase, reviewed kid-oriented consumer products (e.g., toys, clothes, electronics, food, videogames, etc.), and generally promoted smart consumerism in kids and teens; testing of products came from kids of the age range a product was targeted toward. It also taught kids about deceitful marketing practices practiced by advertising agencies.[3] While children asked questions, suggested topics to cover, and helped product test, the editorial staff was made up of adults with experience in children's media, including Mad magazine, and in home economics.[4] In one article, the magazine said children were exposed to 3,000 ads a day.[4] The magazine did not run any advertisements.[2] It changed its name from Penny Power to Zillions because penny suggested its readers had limited consumer power.[4]

A 1982 review of the magazine praised its child appeal and value as a teaching tool in schools.[5] There were also TV specials that ran on PBS and HBO.[6] The magazine folded in 2000, after a change in leadership at the Consumers Union led it to closing down the magazine which only broke even.[4][7]


  1. ^ Ibiblio.org Archived July 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Debra West (2000-06-25). "IN BUSINESS; Zillions Becomes An Online Magazine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  3. ^ Eskin, Leah. "TESTING 1,2,3". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  4. ^ a b c d Driscoll, Christine (2013-04-04). "Zillions: The '90s Kids Magazine About Money". The Billfold. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  5. ^ Stevenson, Christopher (1982). "Review of PENNY POWER Magazine". Middle School Journal. 14 (1): 28–29. ISSN 0094-0771. JSTOR 41431780.
  6. ^ ROSENBERG, HOWARD (1993-11-27). "TV REVIEWS : Zillions of Tips for Consumer Kids". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  7. ^ "Magazines". Macomb.k12.mi.us. Retrieved 2017-03-05.