"Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need." – Will Rogers

Parents of Pre-Schoolers: Brace Yourselves

Posted: January 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: advertising, children, consumerism, corporate hypocrisy, exploitation, hidden propaganda, KGOY, new markets, subliminal advertising, toys | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

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USA Today – “Mattel gives Barbie online dream house

Excerpt:

Toy company Mattel is revamping the online presence for its popular brands — including the iconic Barbie and, for boys, Hot Wheels — with expanded playable, customization and networking features on the new Mattel Digital Network.

[...]

And the upgrade will help Mattel keep pace with its competition online. Other brands such as Disney, LEGO and Hasbro have added features that aim to keep children connected with their sites — and products.

“There is a battle is for kids’ eyes on the computer,” says Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review (childrenssoftware.com). These days, companies need “a smart strategy behind their toys that does things like keep track of a child’s age and recommend or suggest (products), whether obviously or subliminally.

Parents should know that such sites merge content and advertising, Buckleitner says. “I don’t think these things are necessarily bad, and a lot of learning can go on. But we have to be smart so we can tell the difference between manipulation and play.”

There’s an eager, youthful clientele on the Web. Three-fourths of children 2 to 14 use a computer, according to The NPD Group’s report Kids & Digital Content III, which found that computers are the most widely used consumer electronic device among children. Cellphones, MP3 players and game systems are next.

Oh boy.

Full article here.


“The Profit Motive Behind The Sexualization Of ‘Tween Girls”

Posted: January 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: advertising, airbrushing, body, censorship, children, consumerism, corporate hypocrisy, exploitation, film, health, hidden propaganda, image manipulation, KGOY, media, music videos, new markets, print, schizophrenic messages, self-image, teenagers, television | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

From scientificblogging.com.

Excerpt:

This kind of sexualization of ‘tween girls – defined as those between the ages of 8 and 12 – in pop culture and advertising is a growing problem fueled by marketers’ efforts to create cradle-to-grave consumers, a University of Iowa journalism professor argues in her new book.

“A lot of very sexual products are being marketed to very young kids,” said Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect. “I’m criticizing the unhealthy and damaging representations of girls’ sexuality, and how the media present girls’ sexuality in a way that’s tied to their profit motives. The body ideals presented in the media are virtually impossible to attain, but girls don’t always realize that, and they’ll buy an awful lot of products to try to achieve those bodies. There’s endless consumerism built around that.”

(Emphasis mine)

Full article here.

The Lolita Effect on Amazon.


When Did Snow White Get So Dirty?

Posted: November 15th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: children, exploitation, KGOY, media, television | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Article here.

via Jezebel.


Pure Snow or Bronze Sublime? (Wait, I’m Confused!)

Posted: October 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: advertising, corporate hypocrisy, racism | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Premise:

You have to give some credit to beauty companies. They have an unsurpassed talent at searching for – and finding – new areas to exploit.

The strategy goes like this:

1) Find one area of a woman’s body that has no dedicated beauty products/treatments

2) Make up a product/treatment that would “improve” said area

3) Through advertising and articles in women’s magazines, imply that the natural appearance of said area is unattractive/embarrassing and that you can only be pretty and acceptable if you buy the product described at point #2

After a while, sometimes with the aid of TV (with story lines dedicated to the topic) this idea permeates public consciousness, to such an extent that using the product (or treatment) becomes a necessity.

Some recent examples of products and treatments fitting the description:

- teeth whitening strips (“you need blinding-white teeth!”)
- pedicure (“your feet are simply gross without one”)
- Brazilian wax (“you don’t want to look like Chewbacca down there, do you?”)
- Botox (“wrinkles = unacceptable”)

and now, one area for which advertising is very tricky: skin tone.

L'Oreal "White Perfect" skin whitening cream for its Asian market; Self-tanning creams for Europe and America (France here)

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Starting in the late 1970s, Fair & Lovely (parent company: Unilever, grandaddy of Dove “We’re for real beauty”) began promoting its line of skin bleaching creams in India. Other companies followed suit in Asian countries like China, Taiwan and Japan – even though women living in those countries already have a fair complexion. The advertising message: “white is beautiful.”

In India, the message in TV commercials and print ads is that you cannot find love or a proper job if your skin is too dark. If you use a skin bleaching cream, your face will become fairer in a matter of days, and you will be able to attract the man/woman of your dreams and get that amazing job.

In other Asian countries, where women already have a naturally fair skin, the message is slightly different. L’Oreal, Dior, and Nivea – amongst others – promote the sale of skin whitening creams with the message that exposure to the sun can be dangerous, causing wrinkles and skin impurities. A glowing, white skin is the symbol of youth and freshness.

Pure genius. Through the modification of ad messages, these cosmetics giants have been able to sell products to women of different racial origins and skin complexions.

Now, let’s come to America (North & South), Europe, and Australia. Most women there, just like in Asia, have naturally fair skin (that is, Caucasian women). I can imagine some ad men going, “What can we sell them?”

If the message is that in order to be beautiful you have to go against your nature, you can easily get to the answer: “tan is beautiful”!!!

So, starting at right about the same time, in the late 1970s, a tan body for Caucasian women has been the symbol of status (can afford time to vacation) and health (with paleness becoming synonymous with sickliness).

So, tanning beds became extremely popular in the 1980s, through the mid 1990s – until a link was found in between melanomas (skin cancer) and the use of tanning beds.

And now, the very same companies that to this day promote skin whitening creams in the Middle East and all over Asia – L’Oreal, Dior, Nivea – have an arsenal of self-bronzing and self-tanning creams for their American, European, and Australian markets.

These two ads, because of their opposite message, will positively make you flip:

Video #1 – L’Oreal Nutribronze

Video #2 – L’Oreal UV Perfect

Yay for cunning marketing!


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