Rose Kennedy once said: “When you hold your baby in your arms the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity.”
Apparently the influence Kennedy spoke of did not permeate into the world of food ands specifically the type of food children eat, despite their parents knowing better i.e. junk food.
Way, way and I mean WAY back in 2010 I wrote a piece for Adweek entitled You Better Not Pout, Kids. Ads Are to Blame. Here’s the link but it’s behind a firewall so unless you’re a subscriber you won’t be able to read it in its entirety. My piece was written in reference to a lawsuit in which one parent, along with a group, sued McDonald’s for, well read it for yourself from my 2010 piece:
Monet Parham is a mother of two from California who, along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is suing McDonald’s for deceptive marketing. Per news reports, she feels the fast-food chain bombards kids with “slick advertising” and causes them to “pout” when told they can’t have a Happy Meal.
Fortunately, sensible minds prevailed and the lawsuit was tossed out.
That Was Then…
However, as they say, that was then and this is most assuredly now and from the looks of things Ms. Parham and any other parent who cannot parent for themselves when it comes to saying no to their children, may want to consider moving to Great Britain for one brand just made a decision to change the way they market their products in a very big way.
Any of this look familiar?
Of course it does. The marrying of cartoon characters to cereal boxes is as old as… well, it’s been around a while. From Tony the Tiger to Cap N’ Crunch to Toucan Sam and on and on… it’s part of being a kid, right?
Well not if one brand has its way. Lidl GB, a grocery store chain with over 760 locations, will “stop displaying cartoon characters on its own-brand cereal ranges by spring 2020 to help parents tackle pester power in the supermarket aisles and encourage healthier choices” according to the site foodingredientfirst.com.
The move, according to the site, is in response to nearly three-quarters of parents saying they experience pester power from their children while shopping.
Georgina Hall, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for the brand: “We know pester power can cause difficult battles on the shop floor and we’re hoping that removing cartoon characters from cereal packaging will alleviate some of the pressure parents are under. This latest move underpins our commitment to making good food accessible for everyone and helping customers lead healthier lives.”
Thanks Parents, We’ll Take It From Here
Isn’t the above statement translation for “Ok parents, once you’re inside our store we know you can’t say no due to the enormous pressure you’re under via the weight of all that pester power so when you’re in the cereal aisle… we’ll take it from here.”
Apparently this goes all the way to the government with “pressure was mounting to ban products featuring cartoon characters on boxes that are high in sugar, salt or fat.”
Translation: “It’s perfectly find to use cartoon characters to peddle other products aimed at kids like toys and clothes and if you can’t say no to your kids when it comes to these items, too bad; you’re on your own. Ah, but we got your back when it comes to products high in sugar, salt or fat. For those products will be the bad guy for you.”
I am about to do something I did not think I would EVER do. I am not only going to quote someone I never thought I would quote but I also agree with. Forgive me:
“Should it be the government or should it be the parents? It should be the parents.”
That quote is from none other than Sarah Palin and she is 1000% right, of course.
Instead of looking to blame a brand or a manufacturer for something YOUR child does, how about you look at yourself Mom and Dad? Ooh here’s an even better idea: The next time they shower you with pester power turn to them in a cool, calm voice and say no.
Oh yeah, one last thing. You may be wondering if I have any kids myself for if I do not how could I possibly relate to the utter anguish of having to say no to a child. I have a 20 year old daughter and 15 year old son and while my kids are past the stage of wanting a cereal based on a character on the box, I am well-versed in the challenge that comes with just saying no.
But it’s really not that hard…. trust me.