Day 36- Marketing Geniuses

Since my own daughter started back to school, obviously all the other school-districts are getting going as well. My friend Natasha’s daughter started first grade two weeks ago actually. When I was over at the house she told me a story about how Mary came home from school and announced that “All the other girls all have Twinkle Toes shoes.” Really? Wow. All the other girls. Mary wanted to know why she didn’t have Twinkle Toes and Natasha told her that that’s not what they’d decided to buy and, of course, she didn’t need to be just like everyone else. We both chalked it up to a Good Life Lesson and that was that.

Well, fast forward one week and my sister-in-law was on her way over to the house to visit the kids. She called and said she was stopping by McDonald’s and wanted to know if she could get the kids anything. Jason told her sure, whatever is fine, and hung up. When she got to the house Jenny carried in three Happy Meal boxes and set them on the table.

Now, I’m not a big McDonald’s gal, but once in a blue-moon I’ll pop through the drive-through to get the kids a hamburger. I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten them a Happy Meal just because they don’t eat much anyways, and it’s pretty expensive. So the fact that Jenny got them Happy Meals was something different. As they dug into their boxes I couldn’t help but notice Francesca’s toy:

Well, now isn’t this interesting? A Sketchers brand Twinkle Toes key-chain. Also, the entire box was decorated with snazzy-looking cartoon kids wearing the different varieties of Twinkle Toes shoes. (The box has long been thrown away.)

Look, the gizmo even lights up!

A button on the back

Nice little reinforcing repetitive cause-and-effect action there, don't you think?

So the Mystery of Why All the Little Girls of the First Grade Are All in Twinkle Toes Shoes has been solved I’d say. And this is only one piece of it. I’m sure there were tons of commercials on Nickelodeon and Disney as well. Another reason why we don’t have the kids watching any commercial television. The PBS info-mercials featuring Pillow-Pets were enough to get them clamoring for one!

Now I have nothing against Twinkle Toes from a design perspective (although I do have something against them from a cost perspective at $50 per pair.) They’re cute shoes and let’s face it, little girls love color-explosions. The problem, to me,  is when something in our minds or our children’s minds becomes the “only acceptable option”. That’s a branding mentality that we must constantly challenge in ourselves and definitely take care to protect our children from.

Have a wonderful day!

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10 Comments

Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

10 responses to “Day 36- Marketing Geniuses

  1. Amen! We don’t watch any television, commercial or otherwise, and I’m even really careful about letting catalogs into the house, for a bad case of the gimme’s always ensues. But I always laugh and tell them, “If you didn’t know you wanted it before you saw that picture in the catalog, you don’t really want it.” They know it, too. They’ve had enough experience with the latest MUST-HAVE toy’s fun factor wearing out in two weeks to know that I’m right. 🙂

  2. Shannon

    You KNOW I’m with you on this one! I’m soooo over the commercialization of our kids!

  3. Joede

    The amazing amount of peer pressure that one little object puts on our children and thusly us parents is amazing. Children do not understand that school is for education and not for buying the right “icons” and with our desperate drive to make our children happy, we typically for get to remind them of that. You however did a fantastic job. I do find this entry as a blazing support for homeschooling and a reason to avoid McD’s (lol). I love your dress with leggings! I am also challenging myself with skirt wearing everyday and I have to say…I love it!!

  4. My kids are grown up now, and I don’t recall that there was such intense kid-directed marketing here in England when they were primary school age. My good friend has 2 kids aged 7 and 11 and they always want things they see on TV. My friend is short of money (aren’t we all these days) and this gives her a real head ache.
    But marketing via McD’s – that feels slightly immoral.

  5. I agree with PBS being bad enough – the other day Noah spotted a cereal box with Clifford on it at the store and started whining to buy it. He had NO CLUE what was in the box – he just wanted Clifford. *sigh*

    • oh, yes I know all about that. At the store Frannie wanted Spaghetti O’s just because they had the Disney Princesses on them. She’s never had Spaghetti O’s and doesn’t even know what they are.

  6. I agree with you. Which is actually why Disney is pretty awesome. They don’t run commercials on their channel normally. Pretty much all their commercials are ones of their own making – usually small segments on things like family trees (kids can video tape themselves talking about their family tree and their ancestry and send it to Disney and see it during what would normally be commercial breaks), or interesting things that the kids get to do, whether its sports, or a great volunteer thing the kids did. 🙂 it’s actually kind of cool. part of my job involves keeping up to date with Disney channel shows

  7. agreed on the commercialization of our children. fortunately our school has “outlawed” the light up shoes since they are a distraction. at this point my girl likes her pink converse, the big boy like grey and the little only wants “flops”. most of their clothes and mine are purchased at consignment and they are grateful for what they have. my 12 year old neice loves vintage/thrift store stuff and can make a cute outfit for such a little amount of money. we have friends who think their children will only wear gap, crew cuts brand or talbot kids… i just say thanks for the hand-me-downs! we could afford the higher brands but are choosing to teach our children about the value of money and the fact that you don’t need an entire closet full of things when you can only wear one per day!

  8. Haus Frau

    I like your dress!

    Ditto on over-commercializing children. My oldest daughter has a birthday rapidly approaching, and I’ve told family that she’s into princesses but NOT Disney princess stuff. That could get out of control real fast and then we’d be stuck with a ton of junk when she’s 10 and wants to move on. I’d rather her get a pair of play sparkly shoes and a tiara, you know? Besides, some of those princesses are pretty dubious character-wise, but that is an entire soapbox of its own. 😉

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