Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

Daddy, I Want Shrek!!

Posted by Vogeler on March 5, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, Luke and I went to the grocery to give Mommy a break (from both  shopping and us).  I’m not usually allowed to go grocery shopping because I always blow the budget with a bunch of junk food or other stuff that wasn’t on the list (“But honey, they had frozen pizza on sale, 10 for $20!!).  The irony of all this is that I am the one that originally, after much math and price checking at a couple of different stores, set the budget amount.  Oh well.

Anyway,  I grabbed some Spaghetti O’s to throw in the cart for lunch for Luke some day that week, and he told me I grabbed the wrong ones.  “Daddy, I want Shrek ‘Speggy O’s’!”

You could have knocked me over with feather.  Bethany had told me that he always asked for stuff with Shrek or Lightning McQueen (from the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars”) on it, but it never really sank in until he asked me for it.

He is not even three years old, and he’s asking for food with a cartoon character on the label?!

He doesn’t watch network, cable, or satellite TV (because we don’t have it), so he never sees ads at home (he watches a little bit at grandma’s).  But seeing his favorite characters on food labels is enough for him to want that particular can, even though it is twice the price of the regular can that has the same stuff in it.

I am appalled, to say the least.

I am a big fan of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.  They are an organization that has helped open my eyes to the fact that marketing is now aimed at children.  I don’t want my boys to become infected with the “gotta have more stuff” bug.***

I highly recommend joining the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and taking action against companies that market to children.  The things they are marketing are NOT consistent with the values that I hold dear, and I’m putting a stop to it.

Here are some other great resources about marketing in general and how it affects us:

Article on child marketing on Get Rich Slowly

Article about general marketing on Get Rich Slowly

So now I pose the question to you readers:

If you have children, are you concerned about the effects of marketing on them?  Why or why not?

If you don’t have children, are you concerned about the effects of marketing in general?  If you are planning to have kids, will you limit their exposure to marketing?  Why or why not?

I look forward to your thoughts!

***I am not immune to this bug.  I wanted the nursery theme for our newborn, Brennan, to be  Classic Pooh.  Sigh.


6 Responses to “Daddy, I Want Shrek!!”

  1. Kelly said

    I will limit my kid’s exposure to commercialization as much as possible, but I think it’s in a kid’s nature to want what someone else has. Didn’t we all want the coolest new toy, or the Thundercats lunch box? Sure we did, but I think we turned out okay.

  2. I’m not saying that all of this is bad; my major issue is that companies are marketing directly at children. Luke doesn’t understand that the can of pasta with Shrek on it is exactly the same as the can without Shrek; all he knows is that Daddy won’t buy him the Shrek can that he wants (for example). Without commercialization, it wouldn’t make a difference.

  3. Kelly said

    I’m not disagreeing with you. I don’t think that companies should target children in their marketing either, but I don’t think it’s a new concept. I think we were marketed to as kids, too-probably not to the extent kids today are, but we were nonetheless. My point is that with decent parenting and maturity in life, we learned that those things aren’t really important. Luke will too. He’s got good parents.

  4. Shoshana said

    Geeze!! They are kids for crying out loud. if they want a can of pasta that is more expensive just because of a certain character, or whatever, JUST SAY NO. After all, you are the parent. There is nothing you can do about the marketing, it’s going to be there whether you like it or not. Are you planning on shielding your kids from everything that you find “upsetting”? Marketing is everywhere. Why did you buy the specific car that you drive? I am sure there is a different kind of car that you could have bought instead that cost less. Essentially it’s the same with your kids’ spaghettio’s.

  5. Thanks, Kelly!

    Welcome, Shoshana! I did, in fact tell him no. I think you are missing my point. Did you read the articles I linked to? My point is that I am concerned about the effect such marketing will have on my children, i.e. that (as numerous studies have shown) such marketing imparts a consumeristic, materialistic world-view. This is something I definitely want to avoid.

    And yes, I do plan on shielding my children from everything that I find upsetting until they are old enough to understand, process, and deal with it. In my opinion, that’s simply good parenting. Thanks for posting!

  6. And by the way, I drive the car that I do because it makes good economic sense for me to drive this car, even though I would prefer something nicer, newer, and with less miles. 🙂

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