Monday, January 3, 2011

Advertising hits its mark.... or not.....

If any parent out there is still in denial about the power of advertising on their little darlings' minds, let me dispel any disbelief with my unscientific, but credible example. I think I mentioned the dilemma in the Legend household where our viewing habits have changed due to the fact that our rabbit ears antennae no longer intercepts public television. Our son, who has been protected from TV ads (until now that is), has never expressed any desire to own, purchase or posses any item, no matter how perfectly crafted, that an advertising executive claimed would improve his life and therefore, his happiness. His new cartoon channel is called Qubo, which contains lots of great characters such as Rupert Bear, Postman Pat, Maisy, and an unusually large selection of penguin characters that are either inept, clumsy, or both. I may add that none of these characters carry weapons, exterminate, or otherwise depopulate their environment for fun or monetary gain, so I feel safe allowing him to view these on occasion, without parental supervision.
I was quite surprised the other day, while driving home from his Grandma's, when he asked if we could get a device he'd seen on TV that helped squeeze toothpaste from a tube without leaving a mess, or leaving any unused paste. Now I know that brushing his teeth voluntarily is not one of his best qualities, so I was surprised by his eagerness to acquire a tool to help him do just that. A little later in the week, my cell phone sprung into life on the way home in the car, and as I reached for it, he pointed out that I was about to break the law. He also stated that if I had a certain device that plugged into the phone, I could send and receive calls through the radio, hands free.
His grasp of the technical abilities and advantages of such an item, whose name now escapes me, floored me for a second or two. When I regained my composure, I enquired as to where he had gained this useful knowledge. Yup, you're right, Qubo adverts had hit their unintended mark. I say unintended, as I'm sure they were not devised for the under six. I've now started paying attention to the ads on this channel, and I must say, I am perplexed as to who their target market is. Many of the adverts are for the mobility impaired, such as motorized wheel chairs, or the dexterity impaired such as food chopping tools that allow you to chop vegetables and put them in the pot without spreading them all over the stove top and kitchen counter. Personally, anyone that is so clumsy should not be allowed anywhere near a kitchen for their own safety, but I digress. Is this a sign of things to come and I haven't quite reached their target demographic yet, or is there a sizable population in the USA over 50 that has reverted to their childhood need for cartoons? Who knows!

I now spend a little more time involved in our son's viewing, but this is more to do with getting lots of cuddles and affection than it is to do with supervision. And who knows, I might be persuaded to buy something that I didn't know I needed but can't really do without.

7 comments:

  1. You've done well keeping him away from advertising thus far. How thrifty of him to want one of those things that gets the last bit from a tube. My neighbour gave me one but it's so small I've lost it already. I just chop the tube in half and poke the last bit out.

    I hope you had wonderful Christmas and New Year xx

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  2. That's hilarious,I wonder if they are intentionally targeting the seniors(I like that Americanisation,much more respectful than OAP)approaching their second childhood watching cartoons to their hearts content?
    Happy New Year!

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  3. Sonshine is very au fait with the advertising on his Sky channels, but given that I sit shouting 'rubbish!' at the TV adverts most evenings (especially the make up and shampoo ones where there are now fleeting mentions of post production enhancements) he is getting more discerning himself.

    Don't worry too much about him.

    And Pingu, the penguin, is FUNNY!!

    Ali x

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  4. Fascinating and, yes, rather perplexing.
    I watch TV with my son and he now needs no prompting and mutters, 'well, that's a load of rubbish' or 'product placement!' in a way to cheer this particular mother's non-commercial heart. :)

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  5. Advertising has never effected my daughter, yet like your son she really loved the gadget infomercials, when she was 4 she felt we soooo! needed them. Now at 18 she wants to get the "MAGIC BULLET" !!! advertising does work with most adds, the more rediculous the adds it seems catch ones attention :)

    This was a great post!!! creative at best!

    Thank you for your visit to my place, you were a welcome site. It's been awhile and we have to visit more often.

    Have a beautiful advertised weekend coming!
    ~Dore

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  6. funny how advertising only seems to work for the worse things.....I doubt very much if ads for cleaning your bedroom or unloading the washing machine would have had quite the same effect on my boy.......happy new year!!

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  7. This blog post is spot on. My two do the same, brainwashed by adverts. They are very big fans of Oxi-Action, (gets whites whiter 'parently, or so I'm told as the 6/8yo regularly walk me to that shelf in the supermarket.) As Hubby is Head of Laundry at Chez Archers, I really couldn't care less but it does show the power of the evil box!

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