Opinion · Parenting

For shame (or “Why Marketing to Children Should be Illegal”)

You know how there are those professions which discerning, self-respecting people would never go near? You know the ones, traffic wardens, ambulance chasers, defence lawyers who work for paedophiles, Conservative politicians…well I’d like to take this opportunity to formally add one to the list. Todays entry is Marketing Executive, specifically those who work for toy companies.

As I’ve mentioned before, we let Sausage watch telly, and as much as Husband and I favour CBeebies for its no-advert, generally educational programming, Sausage’s favourite shows are mostly on Nickelodeon, which means that she’s subjected to a barrage of targeted, and sometimes not so targeted advertising. When we first had Sausage, I always vowed to never let her watch the channels with ads after my sister-in-law recounted a story to me, which at the time, I found horrifying. She was in the kitchen one day, doing some cleaning and her son, who must’ve been about three at the time, walked in and said “Mummy, why don’t you use Cillit Bang? I gets rid of the grease every time”.

It astounds me that companies who make cleaning products advertise on kids’ TV, but it goes to show that it still pays off for them, when even kids end up touting their wares! But it’s the toy adverts that bug me. Fortunately, Sausage is still largely unaffected by them, she hasn’t quite hit the “I Want” stage yet, but Husband and I still try to stay abreast with whats out there for kids, so if we see something which we think Sausage will like, we’ll inevitably look it up and see how much it costs. It was on one of these “Ooh, she’d love that” occasions that I found out about those toys on the market which are so cleverly advertised, but prohibitively expensive.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce the Puppy Lane range. This range of toys is extensive and includes a cottage and dog, sofa, garden, kitchen, postal set, car, which combined will set you back around £250. Then when you factor in the Strawberry Stables add-ons, you can almost double your money. Now, just for the added effect, in the advert, these things are all pictured together, which means when your kids see it, they want the whole kit and caboodle, which is only natural. It’s just such terrible blood-sucking behaviour from the toy companies and it’s the parents who pay for it, with both money and guilt. Shame on all you Don Drapers out there.

Husband and I have always gone out of our way to make sure that Sausage has everything she needs, without turning her into a spoilt brat. Our families are also hugely generous as she’s an only grandchild on my side, and one of three on Husband side. The girl has MOUNDS of stuff. But on principle, we’ve steered away from the Puppy Lane gear. If she were to say that she desperately wanted it, I’m sure her Daddy and I would crumble, but ’til then, Worlds Apart wont see penny one from us.

It’s the families who have more that one child that I feel sorry for, the ones who have to please more than one set of big, pleading eyes. It must be tough, and I know you could argue that they chose to have that many kids, but by the same token, the toy companies chose to price a lot of us out of the game.

So, you, Marketing Executives will be added to my list and forever more be added to the Douchebag Hall of Shitty Professions. I hope you can live with that.

(Just for the record, these shit-heads earn a ridiculous amount of money, and so probably never worry about the price of things, and sleep soundly in their big houses, whilst the rest of us rant about Strawberry bloody Stables. Knobs.)


Husband has just reminded me of a quote from a man who could, quite frankly, say everything better, more concisely, if a little swearier than me. Looks like I’m not the only one:

By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: ‘There’s gonna be a joke comin’ up.’ There’s no fuckin’ joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself…borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something…rid the world of your evil fuckin’ presence.

The late, great Bill Hicks.

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