This is just a quick pet peeve that N and I have noticed - and probably so has every parent in the last 10 years, we are just new to it. Anyway, it is that it is virtually impossible to purchase certain items for a child that are not tied to some movie, TV show, or prominent brand. I am not saying there is just a Barney tag on the sheet, the entire sheet is a huge Barney cornucopia. N went looking, at Sears and Walmart too I think, for a simple blanket for B. You can buy a Sponge Bob blanket, a Toy Story or Finding Nemo blanket, a Thomas the Tank Engine blanket, but there literally are no simple blue blankets. We saw a couple tents for children recently. There were two choices - Hot Wheels (cars from top to bottom covering every inch) or Barbie (same covering, just light pink and Barbie everywhere). Nothing else. This is quite pervasive. For many goods, there is no choice other than the marketing tie-in choice.
This exists in the adult world in certain places. I have often been frustrated by the fact that it is almost impossible to buy any sort of sporting good - like a t-shirt and shorts - that doesn't make you a walking advertisement for Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, etc. Try going to a sporting goods store and buying athletic clothing that doesn't have a prominent logo on it. How did we go from being paid to carry ad boards on our backs to paying for the privelege of doing so?
Anyway, I once heard an interview on the radio with the author of this book.
Born to Buy . It is about marketing to children, typically at ages where there are plenty of studies indicating that they do not yet have the ability to understand what is a commercial and what is not. I remember some ad exec chuckling during the interview saying that kids will buy what they want, and who knows if the ads have any effect. This is of course completely disingenuous. I mean they aren't spending $15 billion a year because for no effect. They know it works or they would not spend the money.