Advertising and Kids

Comments 49

seen on tv

I know how to stimulate the economy.

Not create job growth, necessarily. This plan would almost certainly not address the United States’ breathtaking national deficit.

And it probably won’t increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product because I’m pretty sure most of the money would be spent on products manufactured in foreign countries.

But here it is: Give a stimulus check—say, $1,500—to every kindergartner in the country and let them spend it however they want.

I didn’t say it was brilliant. I just said it would stimulate the economy.

Would you believe my only economics class was my junior year of high school and that I was smoking a lot of pot during that period of my life?

Highly implausible, I know.

As Seen on TV

My five-year-old son is officially the most-impressionable person I have ever met.

Because I don’t like television commercials, I tend to record things I want to watch on my DVR and view the programs delayed so I can fast-forward them.

It has gotten so bad with my son, that he chastises me when I fast-forward commercials during children’s programming, which is always some really colorful ad showing a bunch of kids having an amazing time with some toy or bad-for-your-health snack food.

He loves commercials. And he believes every single thing he sees in them.

Last night, he saw a commercial for Snackeez! They are colorful dual-compartment cups which the TV advertisement claims will reduce messes in vehicles and living rooms.

The advertisement wasn’t on screen for 10 seconds when…

“Hey dad! Can I get some Snackeez!?”

“You seriously want one of those?”



“Because they’re cool.”

“You think Snackeez! look cool?”


“Dude. There’s no way I’m ordering those.”


There’s no way that’s true. The eliminate-messes part. I could attach a vacuum hose to my son’s chin, and I guarantee he could still get crumbs and pieces of food on any floor space within a four-foot radius. He almost never spills drinks. But he almost ALWAYS gets crumbs and shit everywhere. It’s uncanny.

The commercial shows a bunch of kids just spilling stuff everywhere. On light carpet, of course. Just four idiot kids spilling all of their stuff while playing video games or watching TV on the living room floor with grape juice and chocolate milk and other dark liquids I’m certain every responsible parent would put in the hands of kids in such a spot. *shakes head*

Snackeez! cups will save the day. Don’t worry. Order now, and you can have a second $9.95 cup (plus shipping and handling) absolutely free! Act fast before your kids spill stuff all over the floor!

It dawned on me just how serious the problem was this morning while getting him ready for school.

“Hey dad! Can we get an I spy bird feeder?”

“What’s an I spy bird feeder?”

(He meant the My Spy Birdhouse, it turns out. I was previously unaware of this thing.)

“You stick it to the window outside, then you watch the birds from inside your house.”

“Do you want to get every single thing you see on TV?”


“As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to order things you see on TV. Most of that stuff isn’t very nice, kiddo. Do you get a second bird feeder for free if you order in the next 10 minutes?”

“No! You get it in a package at the end of the day!”

“Nevermind. We’ll talk about this later.”

Get Rich Quick

Some people do get rich quick. They win the lottery. They start a business that takes off. They accept Facebook shares of stock instead of $60,000, and seven years later are worth $500 million.

Everyone wants to get rich without putting in the time.

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to believe strongly in the get-rich-slowly method. That way is GUARANTEED to succeed. We’re all going to be older someday. And we’re all going to have regrets about things we did and did not do. I hope I’m disciplined enough to at least ponder those regrets with a large bank account because I slowly and systematically put money away for Future Old Matt.

One night in college, I was sitting alone in my apartment really late, high from smoking a bowl. (That’s marijuana for all you responsible types.)

It must have been 2001 or 2002. I saw an ad for the get-rich-quick scheme: The Internet Treasure Chest. They promised to refund your money if you weren’t satisfied and rich within 60 days.

I can’t lose!

I ordered it for $100 (which was a lot of money for me when I was in college.)

A few days later, it showed up. I left all the boxes of crap just laying by my computer and never did anything with it.

And that’s the entire story.

I gave the Internet Treasure Chest people $100.

*shakes head*

My Son in the Future

Is this something that’s universal to all kids?

And are these impressionable tendencies I’m seeing now something I’ll have to worry about as the years advance?

I don’t want to wake up in 10 years to find my son on the cover of USA Today because he tried to rob something:

btf usa today “Why would you do that?!”

“Austin called me a chicken!”

“Oh. Right. Do you have any idea how much it’s going to cost to get you out of this?”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.”

“How’s that?”

“I ordered the Internet Treasure Chest 2.0 last night! It’s guaranteed to make you rich in 60 days or they give you your money back!”

“… ”

49 thoughts on “Advertising and Kids”

  1. Maybe you one time should buy him one thing from these commercials Matt. Find one, not too expensive and no good quality. Then he will find out, that you were right, when you told him not to buy from the TV.
    Learning by doing.

    1. That sounds really fun, actually.

      Maybe I can con him into doing it with “The Top 20 One-Hit Wonders from the 1980s!” albums.

      Then I’ll drink a bunch and listen to them. And dance.

        1. Maybe he’ll want to drink and dance to 80s music too!

          I joke, Irene. This is a good idea. And we may try it just for experiment’s sake. 🙂

  2. I had a university professor who, despite being intelligent enough to have acquired a PhD, spent her free time ordering things off the shopping channel.

    This is very timely for me. Just last night my eldest related a recent experience she had had of being unwittingly roped into attending a promotional session for some massive pyramid scheme. Her scepticism, well actually her DERISION, about the whole affair made me very proud that I have managed to raise kids who have well developed hype radar.

    1. Well-developed hype radar is a valuable thing!

      That’s a good story. I’m glad she reacted that way, too.

      I had some naturally gullible tendencies growing up. My news reporting days helped eliminate many of those. 🙂

      1. lol there’s a whole bunch of other names too. some i know because it’s general knowledge and some only someone who smokes up regularly would know. some names are: ganja, dagga (most common as the afrikaans translation), dubi and i think something called a 5bob, which relates to the stash you can buy to the value of R5 (5 rand)

  3. When kid #2 was about 4, there were commercials all over the TV for a battery-operated Pikachu (it’s a Pokemon character). The ad made this doll seem incredibly life-like and fun. It was the only thing #2 put on her Christmas list that year. When she opened the box Christmas morning, she burst into tears…”But I wanted a *real* Pikachu like on TV!” she wailed. Now 18, she remembers that trauma to. this. day. And I’m still holding a grudge with that advertising agency.

    It was, however, a swift death to her “believe everything you see on TV” innocence.

  4. I love As Seen on TV – I did a whole blog on items I’ve ordered off TV. And I come by it naturally because I mentioned in my blog about the gift my dad got me that year.. as seen on TV. And this year for Christmas, I got a Bacon Bowl. As Seen on TV you wrap a couple of pieces of bacon around this bowl and put it in the microwave or oven and when it’s cooked fill it with awesome goodness like eggs – or macaroni and cheese! I haven’t used it yet, but I plan to!
    P.S. When you fast forward through the commercials your shows don’t get the ratings points. So, if it is a show you don’t want to be taken off the air, you should suffer through some commercials. If you don’t care, then go ahead and fast forward. Just a bit of trivia.

    1. Do you work for a network? That sounds like huge lie!

      People are spending money on software that monitors what percentage of a show we might watch days or weeks after it’s original airing? Every DVR in the world?

      I’m totally wearing my skeptic face right now. And yes, it’s handsome.

      And… wait.


      Tomorrow is March 1.

      You have an apparatus called a BACON BOWL that you got for Christmas, and you haven’t used it in more than two months?

      Your taste buds must be in full fledged anarchy mode by now.

      Use your Bacon Bowl!!! That sounds rad. And healthy! 😉

      1. Lol, the DVR already has the software to tell what you watch and what you don’t. They just run reports off the data.
        And I know!! The bacon bowl is taunting me! I bought and extra pack of bacon last week so I could make them! 🙂

        1. You must be more diligent about the bacon bowl. And then you MUST report your findings. It’s critical for human survival.

  5. While I may be inclined to try that method out of stimulating the country, I don’t think it would work. I’ll have to get back to you about the herb (yet another name for pot), but in all fairness, everyone is trying to make a shitton of money, and not everyone can have that bright idea of making some piece of crap rubber octopus that sticks to walls for $0.05 and sell it for $1.50…

    I would rather see people trying to stimulate commerce by actually making something that does as it says, rather than does as it says for a couple of days and then you need to replace/reorder it.

    1. Something well-built!?!?

      That’s crazy talk!

      The Internet Treasure Chest 2.0 has so much potential. I sure hope no one steals the idea!

      Thank you for mentioning the Wacky Wall Walkers. Those things were awesome. For the first 10-15 minutes.

  6. LOL I’ve gotten a few things from the TV and I haven’t been (too) disappointed yet:

    The Taco Bowl Thing: Best fucking thing ever. Legit.

    The Aero Knife: It’s a great knife. I can’t throw a pineapple up in the air and slice it with one swing of the arms, but still a good knife.

    The sockbun thing: You wouldn’t get it, but it’s awesome.

    The Thing That Clips Your Bra Together: I have no idea what it’s called, but yeah, that’s freaking sweet too!

    The Skinny Gourmet: I ordered this thing in December and it’s been on backorder for months so I cancelled it and got a similar one on Amazon.

    After writing all of this, I just realized I have an As Seen on TV problem.

    So far, my luck has been good! haha

    1. Oh my goodness! I want all of those! I also have an as seen on tv addiction, but the good news is I don’t ever order any of the things I want 🙂 a friend of ours got the ear wax vacuum. Seriously the grossest commercial I’ve ever seen! (but he loves his and constantly tries to get my husband to try it)

      1. Lol omg that commercial scares the crap out of me! Especially when I’m not aware it’s on. All of a sudden you hear OUCH! Really loud haha gets me every time

    2. The image of you throwing pineapples in the air and trying to slice them in half with your bought-on-TV knife is worth the price of admission.


  7. The Monster Teen (my once sweet child) used to tell me, when she was still little and sweet, that I needed the Butterfly medicine.

    Remember the old Lunesta commercials?

    Needless to say, I was very, very tired when she was younger…

  8. My boys want the my spy birdhouse too (order now and get the my spy bird feeder free!). Is it just me that thinks the suction cups are not strong enough to hold it to your window and all the baby birds you’re watching are going to fall to the ground and die?
    Also we have some of the wall walkers stuck to our living room ceiling right now. They’ve been there since Christmas and since the ceiling is textured they will never fall down.

  9. That ad for Snackeez! reminds me too much of ads for doggone near everything these days. Adults, children– it matters not.
    The latest one I’ve seen involves a special ice-cube tray that helps you freeze ice cubes without spilling any water. They show adults- ADULTS, MIND YOU– that can’t cross the kitchen from the sink to the refrigerator without trying to re-enact the scene where all that water spills into the hold of the Titanic. These are people who should not be allowed to do anything without a caretaker present. But, if you buy this special handy-dandy spill-proof ice-tray, your nightmare of water all over the floor will be a thing of the past. Oh— if you order RIGHT NOW we’ll send a dozen of these trays.

    Uh huh… right. I’ll have to remember that.

  10. My daughter: Mommy, can we go to Walgreens?
    Me: Walgreens? Why??
    My daughter: Because they have As Seen On TV stuff there!

    She’s 6.

    Also she can recite almost all those commercials because her aunt plays them for her from YouTube while I’m at work.


  11. When I was little, my patents used to call me “The Commercial Kid” because I could sing every jingle and recite every sales pitch from TV commercials. I didn’t actually want the stuff (or maybe I knew better than to ask because we were poor), but I absorbed the ads like a sponge. Today I’m an advertising copywriter with a mild online shopping addiction. Go figure!

  12. I freakin love commercials for Made for TV crap!
    They’re just so entertaining. Plus there’s not much else on at 4am.
    The people who made Cuddle-Upits (blankets that are puppets…yeah, I can sing the whole song) and Stompeeze have a whole line of random things with stuffed animal heads attached. They’re mildly creepy You can get them at alot of stores now though.

    Also, I think I need Snackeez! I’m always spilling shit due to chronic clumsiness. Ironically my parents named me Grace. I joke it was a curse. They should’ve named me poverty.

      1. I’m flattered that you think so.
        It should be a decent weekend…lots of working and some painting. What could be more fun than standing on a ladder, drinking a beer, and making a home colorful?
        Clearly I need more of a social life.
        Enjoy your weekend as well.

  13. I’m totally with your son. I want everything I see on TV, and I’m in my thirties. There’s no help for some people. I am a marketing man’s dream. Strange really as I have grown up in a family made up of marketing people.

    1. That’s awesome. That just means you like a bunch of different things. That’s probably a good thing.

  14. This post caused me and Erik to revisit the soul crushing disappointment that was…Moon Shoes.
    Alas, into every life a little false advertising must fall….

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Matt Fray

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