The Guardian has a fascinating and slightly depressing article about the multi-million-pound industry intent on turning teenagers and toddlers into passionate consumers.
A British child is familiar with up to 400 brand names by the time they reach the age of 10. Researchers report that kids are more likely to recognise Ronald McDonald and the Nike swoosh than Jesus. One study found that 69% of all three-year-olds could identify the McDonald’s golden arches – while half of all four-year-olds did not know their own name.
Researchers have found that children barely able to speak will still communicate a preference for certain brands, associating them with fun. One mother of an obese five-year old told Ofcom’s research team that her kids wouldn’t eat “normal shop spaghetti”, but tucked in once they saw Bob the Builder on the tin.
After having listed a series of possible strategies to counter the trend, the article quotes Greg Rowland, kids will stop wanting Nike trainers only when they have another way to prove their own worth, another way to show they are valued. In other words, when society itself is changed. It raises a tricky question. Can we really protect children from consumerism run wild without changing the way the rest of us live? Is this a problem of the young – or a problem for all of us?
Whole story in The Guardian.