Children’s thoughts go something like this:
ME ME ME I WANT THIS NOW GIVE ME THAT SUGAR YUM YUM MORE I WANT SOME OF THAT NO I DONT WANT TO GO TO BED NO I DONT WANT TO GET OUT OF BED I WANT THAT ME ME ME.
According to Dylan Moran, anyway. He’s probably not far off.
Fortunately children are also like sponges that can not only absorb large quantities of whatever ’substances’ you throw at them, but have the ability to grow the substances, and cross-contaminate the sponges of their peers. This is how marketing works. Make one over-sugared up kid want something and eventually the parents will cave to shut them up, cos its easier than looking bad in front of other parents (nobody wants a screaming kid anchored to them). This sugared up child will likely go and show off their exciting new thing, whatever it may be, to a host of other equally sugared up kids. They too then want it cos its ‘cool’, shiny or possibly just contains more sugar.
Explosive purchasing follows.
Good news for the producers and banks (and, I concede, the economy), bad news for the parents and the environment.
Why? Because it will be in landfill within a year.
Marketing folk (or ‘evil geniuses’ as I shall now refer to them) use these sponges so very effectively. However, kids tend to care about something else as much as themselves - fluffy animals. They also are pretty adverse to (although also morbidly attracted to) gruesome imagery (this being the reason why films have those certificates that people ignore). This is fantastic news if you want to make them do that isn’t about them.
So, a (somewhat twisted) proposal:
- Take a marketing campaign (such as … I dunno, Nike trainers…)
- Find out what it is that destroys the credibility of cool (the DoCoC) for this product (there will always be something)
- Find out how to make a short video (kids like things that move and flash and make annoying noises, thats why they are constantly glued to TVs) about the DoCoC, and make it suitably terrifying (pictures of child slave labour in the case of Nike, for example)
- Deliver this content to the children via a mobile phone (all kids have mobile phones these days, cos they want to be old… idiots)
- Wait for them to become horrified by it, and share it with their buddies (because of the morbid curiosity thing, everyone will want to see it as soon as one goes ‘URGH! GROSS’)
- Watch kids grow up respecting their peers in other nations or whatever fluffy animal was killed previously.
Not sure how effective that would be, but it strikes me that it is vitally important to raise awareness of just how bad some companies are… there is always the undertone that is carried by some companies, which gets ignored because it is not made visible enough. It seems kids, being one of the biggest market forces on the planet, are a good target because it will instill some sense of social/environmental conscience before they become corrupted by consumerism, and then grow up and instill those morals into their own progeny.
It is too late to affect people past the age of about 16 I’d imagine as they have already fallen prey to peer pressure, consumerism, wealth, and the X-Factor (or Pop Idol, or whatever get-rich-quick shit happens to be on the TV when they are growing up).
Planting seeds of caring when they are a bit younger should prove fruitful later in life when they become independent even if they suffer a period of hibernation during adolescence…
…just a thought.
OOH! We could do this with digital stories………… uh…. somehow…. right?