Consciousness to consumerism

ADVERTISERS regard tweens as an important target market for products and services. A parent can use their own basic consumer awareness to help their tweens to become more discerning of consumer trends and products around them. It becomes an opportunity for parent-tween bonding.

 

Objectives

  • Groom your children to be aware of the types and levels of consumerism bombarding them.

  • Teach them to observe the products around them.

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    Help them to recognise the existence of brands and to identify their differences.

     

  • Guide them to question the relevance of products, thereby avoiding the trap of assuming all products are necessities in their life.

  • Develop sharp observational skills, consciously registering the things in their environment, and promote an enquiring mind. Observation leads to questions, which are fundamental to inquiry-based learning that promotes search, analysis and inferences.

  • Increase vocabulary

 

What You Will Need

  • Some knowledge of brands and marketing activities in your environment

  • Your desire of what you want your children to be aware of

  • Paper, marker pens, a white board (if you have one)

  • Time

 

Applications

Being a marketer, I am particularly tuned into marketing materials/communication in my and my children’s environment. Consumerism is real and instead of protecting our children from the ‘attacks’, I choose to leverage on the brand owners’ marketing activities to share my awareness with our children and groom them to become more discerning consumers.

This activity is best done in teams each comprising at least 2 participants (I have this done with my children and their cousins during weekends). Shout out the name of the brand (of a product). Let the representative of each team provide as much information as possible eg:

  • draw the brand logo

  • write out its slogan

  • list the other products they represent

  • the mascot and its symbolism

  • retail outlet locations (if any)

  • re-enact its commercial

  • name its competitors

  • identify the media carrying the advertisement, etc.

The team that could provide the most accurate answers in the shortest time will score and be rewarded accordingly. Children are naturally competitive. So, initially, they might be uncertain and sometimes demonstrate frustration, primarily because they fail to recall what they had seen despite their daily exposure to the brands mentioned. The second time the game is conducted (and yes, they will ask for it), you will be surprised at how much they have observed and their readiness to show-off. Through this process, the children start to become more aware of consumer activities around them simply because they now know what to look out for, to be able to present their observations effectively. They would also realise that it is easy to win the game once the knowledge is acquired – merely through daily observations and being conscious of their surroundings. To sharpen their eye for detail, pose challenges that require more intensive engagement with the subject. Ask for colour schemes, types of talent used in the commercial, etc.

Your children will add to their general vocabulary and gain a deeper understanding of such media and industry consumer jargon -slogan, mascot, brand, tagline, headline, jingle, pricing, target audience, etc. They will become more sensitive to the brands around them, the brand alternatives (since they were asked to look at competing brands especially the cheaper ones), choices available, the work involved in getting a brand into the market, and the ‘cost’ to the buyers.

For this activity, try brands of:

  • food chains (diet and nutrition)

  • transportation, vehicles & infrastructure (infrastructural development)

  • apparels and accessories (grooming, fashion and aesthetics)

  • movie production houses and television programmes (entertainment), and

  • information technology and communications (technology).

 

Cost

  • $10 or less (for stationery)

  • Time

 

Age Applicable

  • 5 years old and onwards