The Loneliest Jukebox

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Consumed with uncertainty

Consumerism is causing miserable childhoods, according to the Scotsman. It seems that it's making our children into 'pasty-faced, stunted, miserable versions of the carefree spirits we want them to be'. The story goes on to catalogue a wide range of examples of marketing getting in the way of parenting. It repeats the claims that numerous post-Naomi Klein parents have made to me recently, namely the ability of their kids to recognise company logos from a very early age.

Not wanting to be a corporate stooge, but isn't the point of a logo its simplicity and instant recognition factor? Hence a logo being amenable to toddlers. Take today's trip to the Odeon with my six year-old, taking in Robots along the way, as a case in point. Some of the heavily trailed movies beforehand provoked instant recognition, as did a few of the products, including an omnipresent dog food commercial based on Mission Impossible, which comes on every time I take the Princess to the pictures. But one reason some commercials worked better than others was that they were based on strong 'brands' already: thus Ice Age 2 had its popular predecessor to draw upon. If kids didn't like the original, brand recognition would prompt revulsion.

Perhaps it's a good time for parents to dig their heels in and say no episodically, or at least make their offspring earn the cash to fritter away on popcorn, Robots toys - we got 'Bigweld' a.k.a. Mel Brooks - and Magic Roundabout masks.

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