Friday, November 21, 2008

Is Marketing Bad?

I was recently at the store and saw these crackers. Of course, my food-loving son wanted them right away. When I glanced at the box, all I saw was cheddar crackers. Sounds OK. When I got home and actually looked at the box, I didn't know if I should laugh or be impressed at their cracker shapes. According to their website (, they hope to spread an environmental message to kids with a healthy, tasty cracker. Which is all good, but honestly, my kids will get a kick out of the shapes but probably not read the box. I love, though, the attention to detail on the cover: solar panels, electric car, wind turbines, biking, organic farm. I think they pretty much got it all on one cracker box.

This led me to my ever present internal debate about marketing. My gut reaction is I can't stand it. Is so pervasive and in your face that I feel like I can never escape it. It is just too much and too influential, especially to our children. It is very difficult to control it. But, what about the marketing that brings to my attention products that I feel are beneficial? I love looking at the adds in Mother Earth News and Threads (I love to sew) to see what new products are out there. Without Magic Cabin, I would not be aware of all the alternative, natural toys out there. But, I can not stand Toy's R Us ads. I am feeling a little hypocritical. Where is the line? Is there a way to market without being so invasive? I would love to see it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know that answer to that question, but I think that commercials geared toward children are criminal. So far we only let Ava watch PBS and Noggin On Demand so that we can eliminate commercials. As for toy flyers, the holidays have brought out the worst...we received a mailing for Wal-Mart (which I am not a fan of in the first place), and all the boys' toys were violent (even the names were aggressive) and stereotypically "masculine" and the girls' toys were pink, flowery, and either beauty related or domestic in some way. It made my blood boil.

I'm not saying that I will never get Ava something that is pink or flowery or whatever (though violent toys are out of the question), but I certainly don't want her to think that those are her only options. And to look at some of these flyers, you wouldn't know otherwise.