Every now and then as I’m sitting watching a show with my boys, a commercial catches my attention. Not for the reason you might think – no, I don’t really want to purchase the Ped Egg foot care “system” or the Topsy Turvy tomato grower. More often than not, I find myself asking aloud, “Who are these advertisers aiming for? Who do they think is watching this show?!”
I should backtrack. Two of my kids are hooked on re-runs of shows like Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons, and Everybody Hates Chris. For the record, these are the only tween-ish shows that I can tolerate, and therefore the shows the kids are most likely to be tuned into if I’m nearby… but I digress. The point is that I’m continually taken by surprise when a show that is skewed towards a young, male demographic advertises products that are obviously meant for a much older audience.
Thanks to the clever folks at Listen Up, this was the only gift my middle son really wanted for his last birthday. Now he regularly asks if he can take this little gadget to church, just like the 80-year-old woman on the commercial does. Maybe he’s expecting to hear the voice of God through its purportedly incredibly powerful microphone, in which case, the folks at Listen Up have really outdone themselves with an over-promise.
The same son asked for the Sham-Wow for Christmas. While I was disturbed to see the delight on his face when he removed it from his stocking, I did take extreme pleasure in watching all 3 of my boys test the magnificent cleaning power of this cloth over the course of Christmas vacation week. My excitement waned when I realized they were creating spills just so they could attempt to clean them.
I know that these commercials are aimed at parents and caregivers like myself (although I will not admit to needing a second-rate hearing aid just yet). And their marketing plans must be successful, because the commercials are still rolling in these time slots. These companies are casting a wide net by aiming for one demographic inside another’s viewing time. The unintended result? Suddenly, we may have a generation of kids asking for things like the Shake Weight, the Slap Chop, and the Little Giant Ladder, because these products’ selling messages have been successfully woven into the fabric of tweens’ mindless downtime.
As a parent, I can’t decide if this really bothers me. Honestly, I’d rather buy the kids a set of Hanger Cascaders than another video game, for all sorts of reasons. Just be happy I’m not your mother.Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.