I Made It Myself... Kinda
by Jack Szwergold ]
Whether using coloring books, building blocks, or leftover salami, kids
like to create things. Savvy marketers know all about this. They also
know that associating their brand with something that appears to encourage
creativity (or the '90s equivalent-interactivity) is one of the best ways
to develop a postitive (and lucrative) brand image.
Once simply a sort of building blocks, Legos have been repurposed to compete
with the action-figure/playset market. While you can still purchase the
all-purpose Legos, a good chunk of the modern Lego line is made up of
kits that are intended to create one object and one object only-a spaceship,
a car etc. They thus give the semblance of creating something without
actually leaving anything open to the imagination.
Follow the Maze of Flavor
While it may be hard to create a truly challenging puzzle, it's not that
hard to create an advertisement that looks like a challenging puzzle.
Advertisements as puzzles and games are patronizing, not challenging.
Readers' "reward" for looking at the ad is flattery.
Michael Jordan: The Coloring Book
Branded coloring books discourage the single most creative element of
coloring with coloring books-experimenting with colors and color combinations.
With Space Jam coloring books and the like, children are coloring things
they have already seen in the film so there is an inherent bias to use
the "right" colors. Bugs Bunny is not red and Michael Jordan
is not green. This might be useful to children who want to pursue a career
in the assembly line world of studio animation, but since most of these
jobs are already filled by kids in Korea, it's basically a waste of potential.
Gender Based Crayons
Yep, girl crayons, as opposed to those crummy boy crayons.
My First Sony
Presumably the name My First Sony means a kid is getting more with
this than a toy boom-box, and that's right--they're getting a lifelong
relationship with the global media conglomerate. Fortunately, none of
these porducts come prepackaged with tapes and CDs of Sony artists like
Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, or Meatloaf.