Sunday, February 22, 2009

consuming kids

i could write a long list of complaints against the politics in my country. however, i have to admit, that whenever something makes me compare norway to other countries, i can't help but take a deep sigh of relief. like i did yesterday, after watching the american documentary Consuming Kids; The Commercialization of Childhood. (i recommend the full film as this trailer is rather superficial, and comes out a bit like it's just meant to scare you).

it looks into how kids are targeted at from commercial forces from birth onwards; product placement; brand licensing; advergames (!); marketing in school; hotels, airlines and even car companies marketing to kids. as one guy says; "what we have is the rise of 360 degree immersive marketing, where they try to get around the child at every aspect, every avenue". and further, "their goal is to insinuate their brand into the fabric of children's lives". and all for this; to turn them into life long consumers.

i don't need to hear about the blinking tests, the video recorded shopping, the slumber parties with commercial agents observing the kids, etc etc. i don't need the 'shocking facts' to be shocked. the fact that marketing towards children is allowed, however subtle or plain, is shocking enough in itself.
marketing towards children is stealing minds, and inevitably, souls.

what was said towards the end of the film, was that whenever critics raised their voices at marketing towards children, 'people' (i.e. the marketing industry) started yelling about the first amendment of the american constitution; freedom of speech.
since when did freedom of speech exempt anyone from morality?
in norway, we also have a constitution that includes freedom of speech. but we also have laws that prohibit actions that are considered bad in our culture. like discrimination based on race, gender or religion. or marketing towards children.
it is a matter of us, as adults, protecting a group of the population which is considered unable to protect themselves. it is a matter of common sense.
how hard can it be?


Ewelina said...

Sadly this country is so backwards that the majority of the population doesn't realize there even is a problem :(

Anonymous said...

speaking as an expat american, i;m so glad my children will not grow up there. as long as i;m alive it simply will not happen.

Anonymous said...

I think this has been a part of the culture here for so long, no one believes it can be different. It is sickening what is allowed and it becomes a daily battle to keep your kids away from it until they are old enough to explain how marketing works.

The ones who have money have a voice here; let's hope our new leadership will change this.

Mona said...

Hvordan virker den lov - vises der fx ikke reklamer på tv rettet mod børn? Det gør der desværre i Danmark!

Bjørk said...

Ja, jeg er ganske takknemlig for at det ikke er lov. Men jeg synes det sniker seg inn litt likevel. For eks er det ganske mange (usunne) matvarer som kjeks og frokostblandinger som er pyntet med kjente figurer fra film og tv. Klart ungene vil ha det. Og det synes jeg er "på grensen" markedsføring. De burde i så fall "pynte opp" brokkolien og spinaten i stedet ;)

Bjørk said...

PS: fantastisk banner du har fått deg :)

therese said...

Pumpkin; It's a scary thing, this USA...
(I couldn't find your email addy, and your blog wouldn't let me comment!)


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