Thursday, June 16, 2011

Walking Advertisements

They are everywhere. Elmo, Winnie-the-Pooh, Dora, the 49ers. Children are becoming walking advertisements. At the day care, I saw them on diapers, shirts, swim suits, underwear, shoes, lunch boxes, and back packs. Branding children for a life-time is a big thing that marketers push for. So they start early. Way early.

I try to avoid marketing. I don't feel like I should buy a Cars t-shirt for my son so he can be free advertising for the movie. That doesn't mean I have anything against the movie. I like the movie very much, but I'm starting to believe that this branding isn't good.

At the daycare, children when point out what was on another child's shirt. Whining, crying, shoving, snatching became part of the scene over Elmo. Granted I know kids who go crazy over generic cars too. But it's becoming so mainstream like McDonald's has translated into having McLife with a McDreamy. Adults are starting to point these things out.

Does the Shrek mac n'cheese taste better than the regular stuff? Does owning a Princess shirt somehow make you a better girl? Are you a boy's boy when wearing the latest sports team to win the NFL?

As I said I avoid making my child a living billboard. We do own a few things that are branded: bouncy seat, diaper bag (which was mine before the child and just comes in handy now), a child's toilet seat (couldn't find one not branded), and a few clothes in the young sizes. The rest of it is generic baseball logos or just colorful. I have no problem with movies or tv shows or sports paraphernalia. I just have a problem with buying into the advertising. Shouldn't Dora be paying me to have my child wear her t-shirt? So why I am paying them? Or is it that we're so brand conscientious as adults (Gap, Neman Marcus, Jimmy Cho) that it's trickling down to our children? Is it the Christian thing to be fixated on wealth ie brands? I don't think so. So I don't fixate on brands and I don't buy-into the advertising (I'll reconsider when they start paying me).

2 comments:

  1. You couldn't find a reg toilet seat? We had a nice bamboo one for K but it got lost in the move. I don't have a prob with some branded stuff... pj's I'm all for. If they like the character and want it as something special fine. Regular clothes... eh depends on the situation, but if its a gift its fine... They won't wear it often though. Sports teams... Not so much the latest winners, but yes they'll have the ones we support. I like more neutral things for gear, but other random stuff the kids pick I'm ok with to a point. I don't see it so much as focusing on wealth as its one of their interests and something they are excited about. Food on the other hand. I cringe everytime I hear K yell for Dora cereal in the store... so not happening.

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  2. Well, the problem wasn't finding an un-branded toilet seat. The problem was finding an un-branded toilet seat not made in China. I'm sure if I really had tried I could have found one that fit both criteria, but it was for the girls I was watching so I was in a bit of a hurry. I got something gender-neutral so if HB shows interest he can use it too. I do need to find a small potty. But not going to worry about that until baby number 2 is much older. Sleep deprivation and trying to introduce the toilet equals not good. Although I'm not going to push anything, it's more like get the potty, some books, and a video so he figures it out from discussion not forcing him to sit on it.

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