Hmm, that’s an evil plan!

Jasmine and Alexa have really got the Toy Story plan worked out!

We often have chats to them about social issues. We used NBN (a local TV station) filming us as a chance to talk about the media and advertising. NBN was at our place for around 30 minutes and it ended up being about a 15 second spot on the news so we talked a bit about how much work goes into TV shows movies etc.

During the interview I mentioned that we have bamboo toothbrushes (only the handles are bamboo – not the bristles) and so they filmed the girls using the toothbrushes. When the news item was aired, the vision of them cleaning their teeth was included but there was no mention that these were more environmentally friendly (because less plastic ends up in landfill). The girls thought this was a bit strange and we talked about how the media sometimes leaves out important information and is selective in what they put to air.

They had also filmed the girls taking some things out to the car (as part of our commitment to giving something away every day). We talked about how we had staged this for the camera as we’d  already packed the car  but took a few of the things out so the girls could bring them to the car for the camera.

We moved on to discussing how the media makes money through advertising, product placement and promotion. We never let an opportunity to discuss the power of advertising go by so we also had a bit of a discussion about how advertising tries to make us buy things we don’t need.

Finally we talked about merchandising associated with films and how kids movies in particular have heaps of products associated with them. We talked about how the people who made Toy Story are different from the people who make yoghurt, or back packs or clothes, and how the yoghurt people pay the Toy Story people to put Woody or Buzz Lightyear on the yoghurt packet (or backpack or whatever) to make kids want it more than the normal yoghurt. This makes the Toy Story yoghurt more expensive than the plain yoghurt but parents are willing to pay extra. By the Toy Story people putting their brand on lots of stuff, they make lots more money.

Jasmine (11) and Alexa (8) are really starting to get this. Alexa’s response was: “Hmm, that’s an evil plan!”

So true.

If you liked this post you might want to follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. Parenting for a better world
  2. Talking with children about the environment
  3. Take a street and build a community
  4. Being a father
  5. Death of a chicken


About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
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