Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Commercialism Corner

Commercialism Corner: Your one-stop shop for quick summaries and links to all the latest news about the commercialization of childhood.

Fashion: School Shoppers Giving a Lesson in Individualism – Marketers target children will back-to-school marketing ploys that tout individualism and expression.

Aisle by Aisle, an App That Pushes Bargains – A new location-based phone app called Shopkick follows customers around the mall and markets to them by rewarding them with points as they enter stores, move to the cash registers, and even while they’re in the dressing room!  The points can be redeemed for such things as store coupons or to buy virtual goods on Facebook.  In addition to stores like Best Buy and American Eagle Outfitters, Simon Property Group, the prominent mall operator, will support the app. One AdPulp blogger writes of the app, “If anyone followed you around that much in real life, you'd get a restraining order. But for a discount at a store? No problem.”

Tween BeatNew York Times Magazine navigates the terrain of risqué ‘tween’ fashion with new brands like Madonna and 13-year-old daughter Lourdes’ new Material Girl clothing line.  Sexualized with offerings like zebra-print leggings and black body suits, even Madonna admits that her daughter’s style, which inspires the brand, is at once “incredible” and “completely inappropriate for school.”

Mattel's Monster High: Twilight Meets Britney Spears – Mattel aims to surround girls with its sexualized new brand, as this Brand Channel article makes clear: “Mattel hopes kids will not only collect the Monster High dolls, clothing and accessories, but play games and watching animated webisodes on its website, become fans on Facebook, read the young adult book series, buy the Halloween costumes at Party City locations across America, and download its catchy theme song on iTunes.”

False Connections – This marketing trade publication observes that with children’s increasing use of technology and social media to connect, children long for “real” connections, like those created through time spent with friends, family, and teachers.  The Media Post article urges marketers to take advantage on this void children feel by inserting their brands.  The author writes, “This sense of connectivity that children are gaining via technology has, to a certain degree, left them craving for "real" connections…This is an ideal opportunity for brands to build (or re-build) some real and genuine connections.”

Google and the Search for the Future – Google CEO, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., talks to the Wall Street Journal about privacy in the digital age.  Instead of a focus on protecting young people’s online privacy, Jenkins’ approach is different: “He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.”

Superheroes 'Poor Role Models for Boys'BBC News reviews Professor Sharon Lamb’s study, which finds that Modern-day superheroes marketed to children promote a macho, violent stereotype for young boys.  Sharon answers a critic’s questions on the Packaging Boyhood blog:

'Dora' Birthday Special Draws 3.3 Million Viewers – visits and gaming sessions also have highest traffic in months due to the Dora Big Birthday Adventure lead up, with 3.2 million unique website visitors, 63 million page views, and 30 million game sessions from Aug. 9-Aug 15.  Think of all those preschoolers who,
thanks to CCFC, weren’t being prompted to click over to!

Aiming to Boost Broadcasters' Commercial Viability
– This Wall Street Journal article points out that in the EU and US, rules allowing more flexibility in broadcast advertising are on the rise.  However, whereas the EU places restrictions on, for example, product placement (requiring disclosure before and after shows containing paid product placements), the U.S. “takes a more relaxed approach,” with the FTC arguing that product placement doesn’t make “objective claims,” and so is not subject to its rules on deceptive or unfair advertising to children.  WSJ subscription required.

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