Thursday, September 22, 2011

Buy Me That: The Power of Toy Commercials

Resist the power of advertising and help your children be better consumers this holiday season.

Because young children don't read or can't read quickly, 30 and 60 second toy commercials send messages through pictures and music. Pretty little girls in matching outfits play in professionally decorated rooms, with two or three friends. They laugh, giggle and have perfect teeth. The message, "If you buy this toy you can be just like us. This toy is more fun than any other." Advertisers aim to hook our kids, who will then whine and beg until we buy their product.

It's mid-September and Christmas-toy marketing campaigns are in full swing. It isn't a coincidence that the new and improved versions of all the same toys and video game consoles-that we spent hundreds, even thousands of dollars on last year-are released in the fall. Introducing new new characters and cartoons is also part of the plan; a multi-billion dollar holiday marketing campaign. The advertising push starts well before the official "holiday shopping season" which runs November 1st through December 24th. In 2010, approximately 37.2% of Americans began holiday shopping by Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation!

Advertising tactics are already working on 3 year old Davison. He calls me at every commercial. "Hurry Mommy!" he yells, "That's what I want."

When I don't run fast enough in response to Rowan's calls to the TV he is brought to tears. "Now, you'll never know what I want!" I assure him that advertisers wont let me off that easily and the commercial will be on again, and again.

When Austin and Cal were little they both prayed to Santa and asked him directly for the toys on TV. They would look at the sky and say "Santa, please get me that." After a pause "He said yes," followed.

Pay attention to toy commercials for the next couple of days. Talk with the kids about them. Check back for some neat tips for helping your kids make smarter choices about what they really want for Christmas.