brainwashing american kids, it’s good business

I saw it mentioned a few days ago in the newspaper that Santa would be on Community Access Television this evening taking calls from kids. I’d happened across this annual broadcast in the past and I’d always enjoyed it, and I thought that I could watch it with Clementine this time. I thought that maybe we’d even call up and talk with the jolly old man on live TV. We tuned in, but we only made it about two minutes before the kid on the phone started dropping the brand names of all the products he wanted. I suggested to Clementine that we go and play with her dolls, and, thankfully, she didn’t protest. I don’t know what I was expecting. My memories of it were more pure. I thought that maybe the kids would be calling up and asking him about his reindeer and what they ate, or about the elves and whether or not they’re allowed to leave the North Pole compound. It didn’t occur to me that they’d be saying, “I need the newest Nintendo system,” or “the Barbie whatever-the-fuck.” I don’t really blame the kids, but it’s all kind of depressing… Anyway, Clementine went to bed and I started searching around the web for new stats on children’s marketing. Here are some of them, via AlterNet:

…From 1992 to 1997, the amount of money spent on marketing to children doubled, from $6.2 to $12.7 billion. Today they are spending over $15 billion. Children influence purchases totaling over $600 billion a year. Children spend almost 40 hours a week outside of school consuming media, most of which is commercially driven. The average child sees about 40,000 commercials each on television alone. 65 percent of children 8-18 have a television in their bedroom…

Merry Christmas.

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4 Comments

  1. Claire
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I think I read it here on your site a few months ago that research has shown that kids think food tastes better when it’s wrapped in fast food packaging. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    The frustrating thing for this father is the television show is the commercial, at least for three-year-olds.

    Doesn’t matter if you watch PBS, NickJr or Disney Playhouse, or if you turn off the commercials, try to buy some panties at Target and 9-out-of-10 have a character on them.

  3. Posted December 15, 2007 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    When I bought my house nearly two years ago, I didn’t even pay attention to whether there was coax run through the house. It was a whole year later when I realized a) that there wasn’t and b) that I didn’t care. That’s when I truly realized that I didn’t miss having television in my life. It’s not that I don’t watch TV shows. It’s just easier to watch it when I want to watch it sans the commercials. DVD’s are an awesome way to consume quality television. Program it, don’t allow it to program you, as I always say. (I also like “Copyright infringement is your greatest entertainment value” but I try not to say it too loudly. SHHH.)

  4. Sue D.
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see a photo essay of Old East Cross shopping for children’s panties. Can that be arranged?

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