Corporate Targeting of Children

It appears marketing specialist within some corporate domains like coal and natural gas have finally figured a strategy to offset negative public images of their products – change the public’s image at the formative years. This is effectively done by appealing  to elementary school kids at a level they identify with.  Within a couple of decades if the negative elements that many corporations are faced with from adults today is still around, the next generation may not be so harsh on them if prompted to see them in a favorable light.

Take for example the efforts of the Natural Gas industry and their method of “fracking”.  Fracking is a process by which Natural Gas well drillers inject liquids into shale rock below the surface to split them open and release the natural gas trapped in them.  There are carcinogenic chemicals in this liquid that appear to be leaking into underground water supplies and poisoning the drinking water of human inhabitants where the wells are being drilled.  Bad image.  So what do some in the gas industry do?

In a clever maneuver to disguise potential hazards with the chemical elements  used in fracking, “a Canadian driller with extensive operations in Pennsylvania, has developed the coloring book “Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventure,” starring the “friendly fracosaurus,” a smiling dinosaur wearing drilling garb named Talisman Terry.”

Talisman Terry

Talisman Terry then shows kids fantastic and simplistic pictures in a child’s coloring book of how non-threatening the natural gas industry’s efforts are in supplying boat loads of energy for all the other boys and girls along with their families


How could such a potential hazard be seen as threatening with these cheery scenes?

 

The Coal Industry is also getting in on the practice of displaying selected information favorable to their industry to young impressionable minds.  They have hired a private company called Scholastic , a “global children’s publishing, education and media company, [that] has a corporate mission supported through all of its divisions of helping children around the world to read and learn.” –

According to a NY Times report on this

Scholastic’s InSchool Marketing division, which produced the coal curriculum in partnership with the coal foundation, often works with groups like the American Society of Hematology, the Federal Trade Commission and the Census Bureau to create curriculum materials.

The division’s programs are “designed to promote client objectives and meet the needs of target teachers, students, and parents” and “make a difference by influencing attitudes and behaviors,” according to the company Web site.

 

If this pans out and the public is duped by this practice, then I think these industries have opened the door for other “socially offensive” enterprises to persuade young future consumers.

For example, let’s get Highlight Magazine and Discovery Box to assimilate photos and stories about the more pleasant aspects of smoking weed,  as demonstrated here.

   

Bring in Jesus and the Church and you gain added moral support

                         

After all, pot isn’t anything like crack


The age-old profession of prostitution could get a boost from such an early intervention campaign.  Here’s how a sexually repressed male would view his dilemma.

   

 

I’m sure there are calculating, for-profit marketing outfits out there like Scholastic that could do a much better job than I’ve done here with the imagery. And with the Tea Party mentality gaining ascendency, government over reach to stop such practices would combat the public’s right to protect their children.

 

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6 responses to “Corporate Targeting of Children

  1. You are extremely insightful and open my eyes to so much. I cannot believe that corporations can get away with this stuff and that “children” oriented companies sign on to this bull.

  2. Another great piece here, L B! It’s shameful and disgusting that companies get away with this stuff, and it’s even more frustrating trying to figure out ways to stop this. I read an article or watched a video (I forgot what it was now), but the premise was how many advertisements are in some way geared toward children, even if not obviously so.

    Very sharp psychologists get paid a lot of money to work on getting “future consumers” hooked on the “right worldviews” at a very early age. It’s disgusting, and it explains a lot about our society today. It’s no wonder people can’t see through the simulacrum.

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