I know that in order to sell products successfully, businesses have to market their products. Right? But, what I am taking offense to, in this rant, is marketing tactics that are geared toward children.
My son is five and, like his father, is particularly subjective to marketing schemes. So my question is, why are marketers allowed to target children on children’s television networks that are supposed to be enriching their learning? Seriously, if PBS (public broadcasting systems, AKA the educational channels for people who don’t have cable) run, in our area, Entertrainment Junction commercials every commercial break. I take Liam the every now and then as a special treat, but it breaks his heart to see the commercials and not understand why they are telling him to visit their play place and mom is telling him not right now. Liam, for a while, started yelling at the television, “Alright, alright, alright!” because he doesn’t realize that it’s a generic ad that is trying to entice parents into taking their children to Entertrainment Junction.
Just tonight he was trying to explain to me why he needed a Press 2 Paste toothpaste dispenser. He asked for it by name. Then after that commercial went off, one for Flip-Flop stuffed pets came on. One right after another, commercial after commercial came on that was specifically designed to help marketers wheedle money out of mom and dad’s pockets.
What is concrete? It’s a hard substance that is generally used to pave roads or walkways. In my son’s, and my husband’s, case it’s how they thinks. Their thoughts are hard substances. They are both particularly susceptible to advertisements, high pressure situations, and persuasive techniques. When the television, sales person, etc. tell them that they need to purchase or experience a product, they think they need to experience the product. They both thing concretely.
But that’s there job:
Yes, yes it is marketers jobs to sell a product; to get the general public to realize that their product is available and better than the completion. It’s not fair to my son to have his heart-broken when I have to explain that they are just ads trying to sell him something and it’s not fair to me to hear him yelling at the television because he doesn’t understand.
What’s the Solution:
Networks that claim to be kid friendly need to be more conscious of the marketing between their shows. I don’t want to not let Liam watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (DTN) because of the commercials. DTN teaches important social skills that I have seen him use in public. Liam sings the little didactic songs from the program at appropriate times, it’s actually amazing.