An American Consumer is Born


We are now on week four of our U.S. stay. The other night, my six-year-old daughter told me that she discovered the “solution to all our problems.”

It was a bag that looked small, but actually you could put almost everything in it. Including a bowling ball. An item we do not own. (Obviously, our problems are small.) I still don’t know what she was talking about, but she was very excited about it and explained that if I just sat and watched television with her I would understand.

In the past few days, I’ve caught her singing insurance company jingles to herself. She has found out that you can buy two of something and get the third free, and describes this as “amazing.” It’s not like she is watching soap operas. These commercials are appearing on kid show channels.

In addition, she has been asking for…

Tub Tizzies, balls for the tub that “explode” with bubbles and color, and a bathtub party light, which promises to lure your dirty children into the bath,


a Wow Cup which is a supposedly totally spill proof cup, but doesn’t fully explain how someone can actually get liquid from it to drink


an Ice Cream Magic cup which delivers any flavor of ice cream in only 3 minutes, requiring constant shaking,

ice cream magic

and much, much more. (Please do not purchase any of the items I have highlighted above. I indulged her for a few moments and read some reviews, only to find out that your credit card could be charged for much, much more than the $14.95 plus shipping and handling.)

Her enthusiasm and desperation in acquiring these items includes jumping up and down and following me around begging for these things, recanting key details like “It’s only ten dollars!” and “It’s a limited offer!”

In Brazil, she doesn’t watch all that much commercial television, but she does watch some. I feel like the ads on the Brazilian kids stations are pretty much limited to toys – which is why her list to Santa was filled with name brand items, most of which she will probably never play with.

But Nickelodeon and Disney channels seem to have sold out to companies who are trying to establish future brand loyalty with the little ones, as well as those companies who are hoping one will call them with their parents’ credit cards to order a contraption that allows you to create a cup made of bacon.

U.S. companies have perfected the practice of preparing future consumers to spend their money on items they do not need but promise “solutions to every problem.” The positive side I suppose is that consumerism drives the economy, the negative is that you wind up with a house full of crap and a big credit card bill.

I wonder when Brazil is going to catch up on all this sociopathic marketing.  I’m certainly not looking forward to it and will most definitely be keeping our Netflix subscription.

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8 Responses to An American Consumer is Born

  1. sccirihal says:

    OMG… an American consumer is born, for sure. I am mortified, but not surprised. The sad thing is that apparently, this type of marketing is successful. How amazing (and yet sad) to see it happen in real time…

  2. Erin says:

    I think Brazil is already there. Especially with toys for kids. Need I say Furby?

  3. I once saw a documentary where advertising firms were hiring pediatric psychologists. They were being used to learn how kids think and how to teach them to more effectively nag their parents into buying stuff. Yep, we’re pretty much screwed.

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