Remember when Back to School was covered by a Trapper Keeper, some paper and a few pens? Those days are long gone, Mamas. But you already know this if you've been looking at the 16-page supply list sent home by your child's school. This year, my son's list includes paper towels, hand sanitizer, kleenex, and two different sizes of ziploc baggies. I don't even have 2 sizes of ziploc bags in my kitchen.
Shopping for school clothes has also floated up into a whole new ridiculous realm. I can't remember ever seeing advertisers going after kids for back to school purchases quite so aggressively. I was recently contacted by Kmart to blog about their new Back to School ad campaign for tweens. Although I do appreciate the fact that the marketing folks at Kmart took the time to learn that I blog about issues that are relevant to moms of preteen and teenage girls, they still missed the boat with me.
Blogging to raise awareness about a wonderful program to feed the hungry, to help moms with the dreaded sex-talk, to introduce an awesome yet little known product for girls, or to highlight a safe girl-friendly alternative to social networking... those are things that I'm more than happy to promote here on Reign. Another clothes-horse campaign that pushes the notion that kids (especially girls) can't be happy unless they look, dress and act a certain way ... not so much.
Have you seen recent back to school campaigns like this, this and this? Same tired message in pretty new wrapping. Who needs the three Rs when you've got the three... um... well, whatever three letters you feel like pulling from... Hotness Factor, Label Love, and Brand-name Bling (not "bling" as in jewelry only, but bling as in all things show-offy and status symbol-y like phones, portable games, mp3 players, blackberries and other expensive toys and accessories).
Of course, playing on perfectly natural social insecurities of adolescents (Will I fit in? Am I good/pretty/cool enough? Will he/she notice me?) and parental worries about kids' well-being to make a sale is a standard marketing tactic, but that doesn't mean that I have to support it here. Yes, parents do have the strongest influence when it comes to children developing healthy self-esteem, but damn we've got a lot of competition.
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