Dr.Q does … visibility

I’m putting together some materials for an online class demo about advertising.  Because I’ve got kids I decided I should look into advertising to kids, even though I’m sure college students mostly feel pretty far away from thinking about kids.

Advertisers love kids.  They start talking to our kids from the moment they are well, conceived.  Did you know that after their pregnant mothers spent considerable time in a particular shopping mall where there were specific smells and sounds, mothers found that their babies were calmer and slept better when the went back to this mall???

An entire generation that is from birth, programmed to love this mall.  What!?!

While in so many ways kids are unseen – they don’t have drivers licenses, they can’t buy things, they can’t go places on their own, people feel very comfortable smiling blankly at them when they can’t be understood – to advertisers, marketers, they are front and center.

For some reason, Lego knows I have a kid who loves Legos and American Girl knows I have a little girl who occasionally likes dolls.  Then my kids ask me to buy them a gazillion super expensive things to be certain I get enough practice in different ways to say no.

We don’t let them really watch TV with commercials, so that fixes some of the visibility issue, but my 3-year-old still knows an Ikea washcloth in the tub and can spot a McDonalds a mile away.

Pretty much all of parenting and all of growing up is invisible to the outside world.  How to develop strong, smart, funny, and creative people is hidden behind a giant curtain.  But somehow the things we have are the primary things others can see about us.

I often think about the episode of the Office where Michael Scott made everyone hold a card up to their head to describe themselves.

Today my card said:

I am stressed.  Like super stressed.  I managed a kid meltdown like a boss.  And I cleaned up a lot of puke without getting sick myself.

Fingers crossed on the last one.

These are the invisible things, the unseen parts of life.  But they are the most important of all.

This month I’m focusing on home organization.  I’m getting rid of stuff and I’m thinking carefully about what we bring into our house.  Paring down.  Cutting back on the visible things to make room for the private things that surely matter most.


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