The last time I went shopping with Piero, he wanted this box of cereal because it had a toy in it. Did he actually want to eat the cereal? Nope. And when I told him that he would have to eat the entire box of cereal before I purchased something that he liked, he put the box of cereal back on the shelf. I tried at that time to tell him that the toys were tricks. They were meant to trick him into buying that particular brand of cereal even though he didn’t actually want the cereal.
This weekend, Piero talked Eduardo into buying him Cocoa Puffs even though a brand new bag of generic branded Cocoa Puffs was in the cupboard. Why? Because it contained a toy. Not only that… we MUST buy more of the Cocoa Puffs because Piero wants all 4 of the toys that they are advertising. Once again, I told him that the toys were simply tricks to get us to spend more money.
Lets not even talk about the branding on clothes and other items geared towards kids. Several months ago, Eduardo and Kelly went from store to store looking for Ben10 (or was it Pokemon) shoes. Piero started crying because only those shoes would do and nothing else. So they spent hours looking for the properly branded shoes. We have been through the same issue with Spiderman shoes, IronMan shoes and all sorts of other clothes. Now, Piero wants a Ben10 bike despite the fact that he has a perfectly fine bike already. But it is not a Ben10 bike and clearly a Ben10 bike is better than the bike he has. That boy is turning into a consumer of the highest degree. I feel really sad that at 7 (and you could see this when he was 5) he is already in lock-step with the major marketing departments that exist. If it is not properly branded, he won’t buy it. I don’t think this bothers his parents but it sure bothers me. I think it is simply going to lead him down a path of consumerism and most likely debt as that seems to be the American way.