February 05, 2005

Commerical Savvy

Transfixed on Ads Posted by Hello

From time to time, you'll see parenting tips and articles here on my blog. Since I regularly update my boys' elementary and middle school websites, I routinely research and post parenting articles that I think other parents might find useful.

With the Super Bowl coming up, and all of those funny commercials that everyone tunes in to see, I thought this piece from the National PTA was appropriate to share with you.

It's about advertising, specifically, the Super Bowl Ads.

Here's what they have they say:

Is the Super Bowl a sports event or a forum for advertising? Each 30-second ad will cost $2.4 million, and some viewers tune in just to see the commercials!
Before the game, have your child guess which type of product will have the most ads. During the game, make a list of the commercials. Was she right? How much time during the game was devoted to commercials? How much money was spent for all that ad time? Based on the kinds of products advertised, can you guess who the typical viewer is?

I think this is a great lesson to teach our children. Advertising is such a huge part of our lives that we don't consciously pay attention to it, but it does affect us.

Whenever the boys and I go to the toy store to make a "wish list" for Santa (Santa will always visit our house, no matter how hold the kids get) they inevitably ask for the toys they see on commercials.

That's fine, they can ask but it doesn't mean they will get it.

Periodically, we'll talk about commercials.

"WOW! Did you see that mom? You get all of that for the low price of only $19.95!"

"Are you SURE about that? I saw all of those products but it didn't actually say you get all of that stuff. In fact, if you listened carefully, at the end of the commercial, the announcer clearly, but softly says, 'item x,y and z are sold separately."

This is where we rewind the commercial (Ah, the joys of direct TV) and sure enough, there it is.

"But what does that mean?"

"Well, it's a trick to make you think you'll get all of that stuff when in fact you won't."

"But why?"

"Because they are trying to hook you in, like when you catch a fish. They want you to think you get all of that stuff and when you find out you don't, they are hoping you will whine to your parents to buy you the rest. They make more money that way."

"That's not honest."

"Well, they DID say that part at the end of the commercial, but you're right, basically, it's a trick. There's an old saying, 'If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.'"

Now, whenever something GREAT and WONDERFUL comes on TV, I will overhear them talking to each other.

"No way. That's too good to be true. It' a trick. If you buy this thing, then you have to buy this thing to go along with it."

"And don't forget batteries! Batteries never come with it."

The boys realize that advertising is a business, pure and simple. Their job is to trick people into thinking that they MUST have that item. Their lives wouldn't be complete without it.

Here's an interesting article I happened upon: Pushy Advertising

When we go shopping and they are getting ready to spend some of their money, it tickles me to hear them debate over the price, what they get for the price and is it worth it? They don't get an allowance, any money they have has been saved from birthdays, holidays, etc. So once that money is gone, they won't have any more money until the next round of special occasions. They are being frugal with their money.

My little guys have turned into smart shoppers.

1 comment:

Wardo said...

Hmm, I had some similar thoughts on the Super Bowl advertising too. It's not even clear that advertising even works - spending on beer ads in Canada have increased over the last 20 years, but beer sales have declined each year...

Oh well, they make me laugh.