I never really paid attention to the advertising messages geared towards children, until I had my own. Sure, I’d heard about those studies that marketers were getting into the heads of children, bombarding them with “buy this, buy that,” “eat this, eat that,” but it never hit home until now.
I allow my two boys (ages six and seven) to watch 30 min-1 hour of television a day (the American Association of Pediatrics suggests less than two hours a day for that age group). We were in the grocery store and my six year old sees a six pack of Bud Light and says “Bud Light is Drinkability.” Next is juice aisle…”Juicy Juice. The very best juice for the very best kids.” He even tossed in a Chuck E Cheese’s slogan “where a kid can be a kid.” I asked him who told him all of those things, and his answer was “it’s commercials, mom.”
At home, our lunch conversation turned to Bendaroos. “Benda-what? Benda-who? Bendaroos! The amazing flexible building sticks! Only 19.95! Must be 18 to order!” Both my boys knew the entire commercial. It amazes me how quickly their little brains learn and retain such information. And those marketing execs behind the Bendaroos commerical and other kid brands know that. In fact, they are counting on the fact that children will repeat these messages over and over, until I give in and buy whatever happens to be the flavor of the month.
They have also figured out how kids these days are digital natives, and encourage the young ones to visit their websites for games and other fun thing to do and buy. Thanksfully, the only site my boys asked to visit is Legos.com, where they play free games and upload thier own creations. I don’t think they know that you can actually buy things on the website, and I’d like to keep it that way!