This strip was inspired by a recent, widely known ad on mexican TV. I think it’s now out of rotation, but it was so ubiquitous, the dialog in the second speech bubble is now pretty much a catchphrase. It was also widely reviled, as it was rightfully perceived that the kid was being a brat and everyone felt sorry for the mom. It’s a pity it’s not on Youtube.

This ad and another very similar (one for dishwashing soap, where a girl asks her mom to prepare the house for a last minute sleepover party with several obstacles attached) made me notice a very ugly trend in advertising. I watched Consuming Children (highly recommended), so I wasn’t oblivious to how advertisers manipulate children to get their parents to buy stuff. But this was something else.

I think it’s well known that most TV advertising uses fear. Fear that if you don’t use some product the opposite sex won’t be attracted to you, or that if you don’t replace your perfectly fine electronic gadget with a newer version the society has permission to call you a loser. The two commercials are now targeting parents, instilling a fear of losing their children’s love and respect if they don’t acquire what they’re selling.

It’s a pretty lousy thing to do, you know. You might think no one is foolish enough to fall for it, but I wouldn’t take lightly the paranoia that probably comes with being a new parent, unsure of what works and what doesn’t, scared as hell of making mistakes. It’s one thing to sell something by telling you it will make things easier for your family. These ads are all but saying “your children will hate you if you don’t buy this product”.

Oh, hey. I guess they aren’t skirting that anymore:

Not cool.

Have a great week!

–Pedro Arizpe