My husband took our 6.5-year-old daughter to her first in-the-theater movie yesterday. Well, first not counting the 3D bugs film she saw once in an IMAX theater and spent the whole time saying loudly, “What’s that? Oh, no! What’s that? Does it eat people?” while attempting to ward off with her hands the praying mantis that was jumping at her from the screen. (We solved the problem by having her watch without the 3D glasses.)
At any rate, this was the first time she had the opportunity to sit through twenty minutes of commercials before the feature began. As a child who doesn’t watch television except what’s on DVDs and Netflix, she needed some explanation from my husband about what these miniature shows were. My husband explained that people make them to convince people to buy things.
“What are they trying to sell here?” he asked.
“A car,” our daughter answered. (When she’s a little older, we’ll explain that they’re not actually selling the car, they’re selling a lifestyle and a set of emotions, but for now, this is a decent lesson in being an aware consumer.)
“Does this ad make you want to buy a new car?”
“No, because we already have a car.”
When the next ad came up, they had a similar exchange.
“They’re selling a camera,” she said.
“Does it make you want to buy a new camera?” he asked.
“No, because we already have a camera.”
Then came another ad.
“What are they selling in this one?” my husband asked.
Our daughter thought about it for a moment.
“I don’t know, but it’s in that bottle.”
It was an ad for Coca-cola.
SCORE! A victory over consumerism without even moving to the country and living off the grid! (All we had to do was get rid of pay TV, homeschool, and avoid shopping malls and mainstream eating establishments and grocery stores.)