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).