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A Cheetah...A Cheetah...A Cheetah
January 31, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

The World of Corporate Logos as Seen By a Five-Year Old (SLYT)
posted by mcstayinskool (86 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by DU at 8:23 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Baby toys.
posted by aught at 8:28 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked "parade elephant."
posted by chococat at 8:28 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


good to see they're reaching us at an accessible level.
posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on January 31, 2012


What I find fascinating is the ones that she instantly knows, which might be more a reflection on the adults in her life and what they consume. She knew exactly that Starbucks logo = coffee and Apple Inc. logo = apple computer products. Also, these two companies know how to brand themselves effectively so there's that as well.
posted by Fizz at 8:29 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is something deeply disturbing about this somehow. Deeply, deeply disturbing.
posted by koeselitz at 8:32 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


That just made me a little depressed about the world. Just 5-years old and he's already developed strong associations between brands and products. Starbucks ("the coffee logo") and Shell ("gas") and Disney ("the Disney")...

On the plus side, I can now have an alternative to the hidden arrow in the Fedex logo. I mean... who knew there were HIDDEN FRENCH FRIES in the McDonalds logo?!
posted by rh at 8:32 AM on January 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


She knew exactly that Starbucks logo = coffee and Apple Inc. logo = apple computer products. Also, these two companies know how to brand themselves effectively so there's that as well.

It's funny -- when I think of the Starbucks logo, I can only envision a circular mess of green and white. I'm actually not sure I would recognize the druid coffee lady, or whatever she is, as the Starbucks logo if it didn't say "Starbucks" right under it.
posted by eugenen at 8:33 AM on January 31, 2012


[XBox logo] "That is on a control that you use to control the TV at Ryan's house!"

I actually found this one the most interesting. I mean, it's how we control the TV at our house, too, but it will always primarily ping as a "video game controller" for me, even if we use it to watch Netflix FAR more often than to play actual games. It's a generational thing I wouldn't have thought of, but in retrospect - OF COURSE.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:33 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


The NBC peacock is a "turkey". Who knew the kid was a TV critic too?
posted by Gridlock Joe at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jennifer Government anyone?
posted by Fizz at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2012


Interesting how effective the Boeing logo was at conveying its central concepts. Seems like this could actually be used for design research...now take those infants down to the lab, Maurice!
posted by howfar at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can almost imagine it is Harry Caray speaking.
posted by travis08 at 8:38 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interesting how effective the Boeing logo was at conveying its central concepts

Yeah. To me, I look at that logo and my first reaction is, that's a Q, probably Qantas. But apparently it works for somebody, because she nailed it.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:40 AM on January 31, 2012


That was fascinating.
posted by device55 at 8:40 AM on January 31, 2012


"That's a cheetah, a cheetah and a cheetah.." And yet, the difference between Jaguar and Greyhound is one of life's harrowing truths that this girl...okay it was cute.
posted by obscurator at 8:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm actually not sure I would recognize the druid coffee lady, or whatever she is

The first logo of the Starbucks Coffee Co. is better in my opinion. More tits with my coffee is just what I need in the morning.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 AM on January 31, 2012


Reminds me of Saunder's "Jon"
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny -- when I think of the Starbucks logo, I can only envision a circular mess of green and white. I'm actually not sure I would recognize the druid coffee lady, or whatever she is, as the Starbucks logo if it didn't say "Starbucks" right under it.

A twin-tailed mermaid. Interestingly considering what you say, they have recently removed the text from the logo.

Also, I was interesting that the kid identified Panera Bread's logo with coffee; I presume that's what her parents go there for.
posted by aught at 8:45 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't watch this because of the horrid distracting background music.

I actually really like the NBC logo, and I'd wear it on an artfully-distressed T-shirt (this is what you have to do to avoid looking like a promo person for a brand) because the colours are pretty. Maybe it's because we don't have it here, though.
posted by mippy at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2012


Once when my kid was not even one and a half we were at a mall and we walked past a Disney store he's never been in, with a big frosted-glass window with the logo etched in, and he pointed to the window and shouted "Disney!" with unbridled glee, and a little piece of my heart turned to ice.

We are not big licensed merchandise consumers, and my kid did not watch TV all day as a toddler. At home he'd seen the logo on a few of those faux-educational baby videos I'd let him watch now and again while I was taking a shower, and I, in my continual quest to teach him to read, had read it out loud now and again. But he certainly wasn't purposefully steeped in brand culture or anything.

Anyway at seven he's nevertheless starting to be a proper little cynic about how companies "trick" you with commercials so I'm quite relieved.
posted by BlueJae at 8:48 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm actually not sure I thought this was all that depressing. Most of them, she (I'm guessing; could be he) didn't know. ("A turkey that's very colorful.") The strongest association was GE, because "That's where my grandpa works." Which is ... not troubling, right? And sure, she recognized McDonald's and Starbucks, but all it means is that sometimes, they go to Starbucks and McDonald's. It's not like they showed the Apple and she said, "GOODNESS AND VALUE," or they showed the McDonald's logo and she said "MY FAMILY!" That would creep me out. I'm not sure it's all that depressing that a five-year-old recognizes what McDonald's looks like, except in a super-existential way that's certainly not surprising to me at this point.

I mostly thought it was really cute. "Cheetah ... cheetah ... cheetah" cracked me up.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 8:48 AM on January 31, 2012 [31 favorites]


That just made me a little depressed about the world. Just 5-years old and he's already developed strong associations between brands and products. Starbucks ("the coffee logo") and Shell ("gas") and Disney ("the Disney")...

Not depressing. Inevitable. Human nature. Kids under the age of six are sponges. That's not parenting cant - that's biology in action. Kids absorb everything. They are relentless and crazily gifted observers, analyzers, categorizers. Damn near everything they encounter is met with the question: Do I need to know this? How important is it? Does my survival depend on it?

This is why a four-year-old can pick up a language simply by being in regular earshot of it. It's also why even kids like mine who've never been inside a McDonald's know which one it is in the logo-dense suburban jungle.

You move through the modern landscape, and these things recur, and meaning gets attached to them. My daughter could identify the Toys R Us logo - which is basically just the words in kiddie font - long before she could read. She'd been inside a Toys R Us once in her life to that point. Needless to say, her toddler mind filed that one away in a particularly important mental box.

(On a sidenote, someone's eventually going to figure out a way to make an obscene amount of money off the fact that seemingly all little kids want every large cat to be a cheetah.)
posted by gompa at 8:49 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


She sounds like Marcel the Shell.
posted by alzi at 8:52 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Huh. I'd always figured I liked Cheetara best of the Thundercats because she was the only female character, but maybe it was just because cheetahs are the irresistable to children.

I found my unease with the content of the video ammeliorated by how easy it was to imagine that it was Marcel the Shell narrating.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:54 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


but maybe it was just because cheetahs are the irresistable to children.

No it's the other way around.
posted by Fizz at 8:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Note to self: preview is your friend. Jinx, alzi!
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2012


My kids only know the hand-drawn logo for the local oilman's co-operative where I buy my organically-produced, non-GMO gasoline. It may be (a lot!) more expensive but I like knowing my gas was produced locally, and doesn't have a lot of chemicals in it.
posted by kcds at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


I enjoyed this because it was a child's voice but it wasn't asking me to get something.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude, it's crazy. My two year old knows that the Starbucks logo means coffee. He knew the Apple logo before he could even say the word properly (he'd point and say "appy!"). He recognizes the Toyota logo and says "Toyoya is best car" whenever he sees one.
posted by zsazsa at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012


I am totally going to do this when my daughter is five. It'll be fascinating and probably helpful.
posted by gurple at 8:58 AM on January 31, 2012


KCDS: I'm impressed you have such a good internet connection, with your computer being powered by ethically raised goats running on a ergonomic treadmill and all.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


She really only recognized a handful of them. It was fun to listen to.

When my oldest kid was a toddler, I had this weird aversion to him picking up brand names. That didn't mean we wouldn't go to McDonald's, ever, but that I would never say the name of the restaurant. He called it "the french fry place." He still would see the logo and know "french fries!" and it's not like I was one of those parents who refused to take my kid to McDonald's. It was just this very irrational thing on my part.
posted by not that girl at 9:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's cute.

Though I'm more interested in the history and adaptation of logos.

NBC, Apple, Pepsi.
posted by LoudMusic at 9:08 AM on January 31, 2012


As mentioned, a lot of the instantly recognized ones are probably places the kid's parents visit frequently. So when they said "the apple store logo" and not "apple"...exactly how often do Apple users visit the Apple store? Even if there was a "Windows" store I doubt I'd ever be there. Even if I had to buy a PC from them it would be once a year at the most. Weird.
posted by maxwelton at 9:20 AM on January 31, 2012


What I find fascinating is the ones that she instantly knows, which might be more a reflection on the adults in her life and what they consume

I had the same thought.
posted by source.decay at 9:30 AM on January 31, 2012


Serious question for parents that avoid the toxic commodified places: How will you actually introduce the concept to your child?

Are you going to just avoid it and hope that your teachings lead them to shun it as teenagers?

Are you prepping for the day when they are reaching the cusp of per-adolcense to take them to a McDonalds and order the most revolting thing to scar their memory of the place as a child once and for all?
posted by wcfields at 9:39 AM on January 31, 2012


I tried it with my three year old. We go to McDonalds's, but she didn't recognize the logo, just that it was an M. She didn't recognize Starbucks, either, which is also surprising. She knew Apple - "Apple! For phone! And Computer!" and she identified CBS, NBC, Boeing and WWF as "an eye!", "feathers", "the moon" and "a panda." Instead of cheetah, cheetah, cheetah, she said dog, cat, cat. She didn't know any of the other brand names. (We don't drink Pepsi - I'm sure she could get "Diet Coke" instantly.) I'd like to pretend it's because I've done a fabulous job shielding her from the effects of advertising, but really, I just think she's maybe not very observant.
posted by artychoke at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really get this outrage that children recognize brands.

Is it that, if they recognize, say, the golden arches as "McDonalds," then they will refuse to eat at a mom-and-pop hamburglary? Or will associating the M = McDonalds make them refuse to eat their veggies?

Or, is it merely a sign that they have consumed so much advertisement that they now can instantly identify logos? Is it a barometer of ruined-ness?

How is it any different from myself, as an adult, recognizing these logos? If there is something bad about logo recognition (Which, based on the comments in this thread, clearly there is), what can I do to protect myself from it?
posted by rebent at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2012


Serious question for parents that avoid the toxic commodified places: How will you actually introduce the concept to your child?

In the case of McDonald's - which we view around here as a particularly pernicious influence because one of its core brand strategies, as revealed in the McLibel trial a few years back in the UK, specifically targets very young kids - we tell our daughter we don't eat there because the food is bad for you and can make you sick and the company knows this, and that's why they have those enticing Playlands and free toys, to trick kids into wanting to eat there.

We felt like our hand was forced on this when our daughter's preschool offered a free, McDonald's-sponsored lunch day as a "special treat" for all the kids. McD's HQ couldn't have scripted the thing better than the caregivers were hardselling it. We decided on an all-in, complete-ban strategy - she stayed home the day of the McDonald's lunch - and we stand by it. I also wrote an extensive letter to my daughter's preschool making the argument that a burger-and-fries treat shouldn't come from McDonald's, with specific reference to the company's own internal marketing communications. How about the wonderful burgers and far superior fries from local favourite Roxy's Burger Bar, I suggested. I received a very gentle, carefully worded reply, which we refer to around here, with all due respect and affection, as the "Dear Crackpot" letter.

In all seriousness, I believe that if you can avoid positive associations with these places in those critical first six years of brain development, it'll be impossible for them to ever win hearts and minds on their own dubious merits. Odds are our daughter will eventually rebel and seek out a taste of the forbidden fruit, of course, but Im cautiously optimistic that our claims that the food there makes you feel sick will prove accurate enough that she'll never really develop much of an affection for the place.

We went to Wendy's once in an emergency. (Late for a waterpark birthday in deepest suburbia, her on the verge of a blood-sugar crash, and the visible choices on the landscape were Wendy's and Tim Hortons - the latter of which is the harder brand to avoid in Canada.) She kind of marvelled at the speed of service. For now, though, she prefers the general quality of the burgers and milkshakes we very occasionally treat ourselves to at Five Guys or Fatburger. And when she gets to choose anything she wants for dinner, she'll usually request the beef pho at our local Vietnamese joint.
posted by gompa at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2012


My kids only know the hand-drawn logo for the local oilman's co-operative where I buy my organically-produced, non-GMO gasoline. It may be (a lot!) more expensive but I like knowing my gas was produced locally, and doesn't have a lot of chemicals in it.


I really think this needs to be the premise for a Portlandia sketch.
posted by lunasol at 10:10 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


I found this adorable. It's fun to watch how a kid interprets the symbols they see around them.

Also, I think there's a middle way between "corporations are the providers of all we love" and raising your kids completely separate from the cultural influence of all corporations. My parents did a pretty good job of that, I think. They're dyed-in-the-wool leftists and they imparted those values to me and my brother while also being pretty pragmatic about the fact that we would actually be living in American culture and, also, a meal at McDonald's once every few months won't kill anyone. We grew up aware and critical of of this stuff but also able to function in mainstream society.

Over the years, I've known kids (some whose parents were my parent's friends, some that I've met in progressive circles as adults) whose parents raised them, as much as possible, outside of corporate influence. This ranges from no TV and all whole foods to having been raised on communes. And while some of them seem to have adjusted to adult life just fine, a lot of have had serious issues, especially in late adolescence and early adulthood. Especially those who had more natural tendencies to be shy or just socially awkward. And, honestly, I don't think it's fair to do that to kids.
posted by lunasol at 10:20 AM on January 31, 2012


tell our daughter we don't eat there because the food is bad for you and can make you sick

While it's difficult to argue that McDonald's food is healthy (and if I had kids I wouldn't be keen on a fast food sponsored event at their preschool) how can it 'make you sick' any more than anything else? It's been a while since I read McLibel, but I don't recall anything that is more likely in their methods that will make one ill than any other industrially-prepared food. If you remove the ideology from it, it's no more bad for you than any other chain burger bar - in the UK at least they do use proper beef and chicken in their products (and before you say that this is marketing getting to me, it's my job to properly verify marketing claims and they can't claim what isn't true over here. I can't say more than that, but if they say they use breast meat and pure beef, then they have to show us they do). I'd rather eat at In and Out if we had it here,, but I am curious as to what makes Starbucks and McDonalds 'worse' than, say, Costa and Burger King. They all do the same things in the same way, do they not? I wonder why one is seen as the harbingers of capitalist doom and one as somewhere to grab a burger or a coffee.

Unless this is one of the things parents say to discourage their kids from whining, like the music in the ice-cream van being an indicator that they've run out of ice-cream. My parents weren't keen on branded things (particularly my dad, who thought McDonalds was expensive and wouldn't cave to my demands for a console as he said they were essentially ways to make money out of percieved obsolecence) and now I'm an adult I'm glad that attitude was around me as a kid.
posted by mippy at 10:30 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Before my daughter turned 2, before she could talk, she was communicating mainly by sign language learned from Baby Signing Time videos. At the grocery store, she would point to Sun-Maid raisins and sign "Monkey!" Which I thought was odd, until the next time we watched Curious George on PBS, which was sponsored by.... SunMaid raisins, showing the logo and everything. It blew my mind that children so young could have those brand associations - not that it bothered me particularly, just brought home how hardwired the process of mental associations must be...
posted by MLR0608 at 10:35 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Won't go too far into the derail, mippy, but here in western Canada only McDonald's has huge, elaborate, jungle-gym Playlands at many of its suburban outlets. They put more money into Happy Meal advertising (and licensing the most desired toys to brand those meals) than any other chain. McD's expressly targets preschoolers; as I recall, this was called the "nag factor" in its internal communications.

And I can say from personal experience that if you've gone several years without eating McDonald's beef and you wind up stuck at a McD's highway rest stop and cave in and scarf down a quarter pounder, you feel the thing move through you every inch of the way and are not keen to repeat the experience any time soon. (Same with KFC and Burger King, in my experience, but not Wendy's. Couldn't possibly explain why.)

YMMV and all that.
posted by gompa at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2012


I have to be pretty careful about commenting on advertising strategies, so I'll add only this: I remember when the Asda chain in the UK was bought out by Wal-Mart, and a lot of the very left-wing people I know vociferously boycotted it. Then a few years later, it was Tesco that was the bete noire of anticapitalist folk- to the point where 'Tesco towns' and 'Tescopoly' became shorthand for issues that related to supermarket chains as a whole - as though being angry about Asda had fallen out of fashion. It may be because Tesco at the time were aggressively expanding, and they began to have a lot of power in terms of the sheer amount of British cash going through their tills, but the issues people had with Wal-Mart in the meantime hadn't gone away (and I've read a lot about them since then which makes me understand why many are extremely uncomfortable shopping there). I wonder who the next ideological target will be.

My daughter could identify the Toys R Us logo - which is basically just the words in kiddie font - long before she could read

I could read as a toddler and was able to pick food I wanted off a menu by the time I was two - I wonder if that sort of thing has any impact on brand recognition or whether it's the colours and shapes kids respond to. I used to like seeing things like the Q8 petrol station logo because it was interesting to see on a long dark drive home from where my relatives lived, and part of me still really wants a glowing Michelin man like the one we had as a child. I don't drive so it's nothing to do with whether I think they make good tyres or petrol.
posted by mippy at 10:39 AM on January 31, 2012


gompa, I'm not part of the kiddie world enough to know whether that happens at soft play places here. It's usually Burger King we get at rest stops/service stations and train stations in the UK. I'm trying to train myself out of eating fast food as a convenience, but I have to admit I had a Quik baconburger at Brussels Zuid station and found it both revolting and delicious.
posted by mippy at 10:41 AM on January 31, 2012


So when they said "the apple store logo" and not "apple"...exactly how often do Apple users visit the Apple store?

Hmm. The Apple store is designed to be an appealing place to browsers, what with the clean lines and magic glowing gadgets all laid out. It's good (if, let's face it, seriously fucking creepy) branding, and the sort of thing that appeals to kids. It may be that she wants to go in every time they go past, even if she's only actually been inside twice.

OTOH Windows oriented PC shops all look like stationers.

OT3rdH one of the common Apple franchisees ("premium reseller" my syphilitic gonads) in the UK is called "Stormfront". I'm serious. Clean lines, a utopian vision of the future and a name like "Stormfront". This is why I only buy Apple products from Argos, which is just a warehouse with a room stuck to the front, in which people who use sportswear as daywear wait on moulded plastic chairs. It's like a Beckett play that also sells cheap batteries. Potentially depressing, but at least not openly fascist in intent.

I digress.
posted by howfar at 10:43 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Noticeable guidance on the Starbucks/Apple reaction, no doubt influenced by a creative household, but I think the deepest connection made was by GE.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:43 AM on January 31, 2012


This is very cute. One could go off on a dissertation about the brand exposure to children, The Commercialisation of Childhood, and any number of evils related to branding and youth.

However in this case, perhaps we can all agree that panda bears live in the woods. I think.
posted by nickrussell at 10:43 AM on January 31, 2012


This was sweet, especially all the cheetahs.

But my favorite part was how her whole being seemed to jump up in recognition of the GE logo, because of the association with her grandfather. I can't stop picturing his home (and hers) filled with GE products or company logo items (pens, umbrellas, beach towels) that he or her grandmother or her parents had proudly pointed out to her so also they became her own.

Then again, maybe that's just because our grandfather sold Johnnie Walker.
posted by Mchelly at 10:53 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't really get this outrage that children recognize brands.

Forget it, Jake. It's MetaFilter.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


But my favorite part was how her whole being seemed to jump up in recognition of the GE logo, because of the association with her grandfather. I can't stop picturing his home (and hers) filled with GE products or company logo items (pens, umbrellas, beach towels) that he or her grandmother or her parents had proudly pointed out to her so also they became her own.

I know! That brought a huge smile to my face. Reminds me of how I thought it was weird that New York was called New York, because it's where my grandparents lived and they were old!
posted by lunasol at 10:58 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, aren't we forgetting that there actually IS a corporate cheetah?!
posted by obscurator at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2012


Awww, five is a cute age. Able to communicate, but still full of adorableisms.

I don't really get this outrage that children recognize brands.


Well, it's not outrageous, but it's about how interesting it is that some kids ask for tissues, and some kids ask for Kleenex® (and most still use their sleeves). It's just something you notice when your husband works in advertising. A pervasive brand name is a successful brand name.

At our school's breakfast program, partly because we buy in bulk, and for sanitary reasons, we serve from bowls and plain containers - not the cereal boxes and yogurt containers. We soon realized it took care of any brand-loyalty issues. Some kids still know a Shreddie when they see one, but most just ask for "that cereal, please". And we have noticed a decrease in incidences of "I don't like that yogurt." But no matter what, any round oat-based cereal is a "Cheerio". For the hot foods prepared in the kitchen by our whiz of a coordinator, who uses whatever she can get from food shares and Second Harvest and donations and sales, we let them decide what the concoctions should be called. For example, we made these carrot potato zucchini and cheese things, and only offered "Would you like some of this?". When kids came back for seconds (and thirds and fourths) they requested the latkes/potato pancakes/rosti/hash browns, depending on their own experience. It was kind of a cool experiment. But if I'd told them it was a Floogle, they'd have come back asking for more Floogles. The power to name things - it's heady!
posted by peagood at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, aren't we forgetting that there actually IS a corporate cheetah?!

Nah. See, Chester's not really a cheetah. He's a cautionary tale of corporate groupthink and the quasi-imperial overreach of committee thinking, a proactive cheetah rasta-fied by 10 percent or so too many times until he actually disconnected entirely from the beloved animal he originally anthropomorphized. He's more brand than mammal. Which is why no kid ever has begged for "those cheese puffs with the cheetah on them."
posted by gompa at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


names not jake
posted by rebent at 11:32 AM on January 31, 2012


Jaguar, Puma and Greyhound need to consider rebranding their logo - seriously.

I would have liked to see how she would have responded to Coke, Subway, Burger King, Macy's, Wal-Mart, and others.

I would also like to see if she knows a few jingles: "bu-dah dut dee-daah" (Fast Food), "We are farmers" (Insurance), "AFLAK!" (Insurance), etc...

I'm really curious how her brain is getting hardwired... and more importantly, how to tap into it. All of the associations so far were positive or neutral. There wasn't a "I don't like that!" or "That's a boy toy!" either by word or by tone... I'd like to see how she responded negatively to something.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2012


My 3 year old would have said Monster Energy Drink looked like boogers.
posted by stormpooper at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


stormpooper - that's one I forgot to put up above. My 3 year old said the Monster logo was "dragon grass."
posted by artychoke at 1:07 PM on January 31, 2012


we tell our daughter we don't eat there because the food is bad for you and can make you sick and the company knows this, and that's why they have those enticing Playlands and free toys, to trick kids into wanting to eat there.


So, you're lying to your kid?!?!
posted by 2N2222 at 1:21 PM on January 31, 2012


Shocking!
posted by howfar at 1:50 PM on January 31, 2012


I know! Santa told me that only the Easter Bunny lies to children! And you don't want to be like the Easter Bunny, now, do you? The dirty candypusher.
posted by mippy at 2:13 PM on January 31, 2012


awww, this was much cuter than I expected.


And my mind is totally blown by the idea of the McDonald's "m" as French Fries!
posted by vespabelle at 2:18 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


baby blue?
posted by symbioid at 2:30 PM on January 31, 2012


In all seriousness, I believe that if you can avoid positive associations with these places in those critical first six years of brain development, it'll be impossible for them to ever win hearts and minds on their own dubious merits.

I think it depends a lot on the kid, and many other factors. It's easy to vastly underestimate just how much information a child takes in, processes, and is influenced by. My mother had that exact same parenting philosophy, and it was pretty much undone by the time I was 7 years old. Mostly by Star Wars and Marvel Comics. The fact that she spent the majority of my childhood teaching me about the brainwashing effects of American consumer capitalism, and I grew up to have a successful career in advertising is still a bit of a joke around the dinner table.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it so surprising and outrageous that a five year old would know how to interpret half of the symbols in this set? A logo is a symbol... kind of like, you know, letters. Logos are something we see everywhere everyday. They're ubiquitous. Large corporations are, I agree, largely sinister these days. But I don't find it all that disturbing that a five year old basically knows how to read. Big deal.

That said, his voice is damn cute and made me laugh.
posted by madred at 5:54 PM on January 31, 2012


In all seriousness, I believe that if you can avoid positive associations with these places in those critical first six years of brain development, it'll be impossible for them to ever win hearts and minds on their own dubious merits. Odds are our daughter will eventually rebel and seek out a taste of the forbidden fruit, of course, but Im cautiously optimistic that our claims that the food there makes you feel sick will prove accurate enough that she'll never really develop much of an affection for the place.

Haha what? Seriously, dude, the appeal of a place like McDonald's isn't that they market themselves with positive associations, it's that they make basely delicious food that costs very little money. I didn't enjoy McDonald's because of the ad where Ronald McDonald carves a snowman with a little girl, I enjoyed McDonald's because when my parents were rushing me off to Tae Kwon Do and didn't have time for a proper meal, we'd get a burger and it would taste utterly, sinfully delicious. Not the way that actual hamburgers do, but in the specific delicious way that fast food burgers do. They are still that delicious today.

I promise you that if you avoid giving your daughter contact with a brand, she will still find their food delicious, unless you condition her so severely that she becomes an unpleasantly conditioned person. As a child I wasn't exposed at all to White Castle, Krispy Kreme, or KFC, yet as a young adult I am fully capable of finding their food delicious. It doesn't even matter that I don't feel good after I eat those foods! Those are not foods you eat when you're making plans for yourself that last beyond the next half hour or so?

And I think that's entirely alright. Sometimes people have those days. Sometimes it's better to have that sin food and put yourself in a happy, comfortable place than it is to force yourself into perpetual healthiness and slowly go crazy. I mean, I still have days when I walk to McDonald's to make myself feel a little better on a miserable day, my friends and I hit Applebee's and White Castle and Taco Bell when we're home, but those are isolated feel-good experiences in the middle of a diet that's otherwise constantly improving. I'm teaching myself to love vegetables and alternate grains, slowly but surely, learning how to cook healthier, and overall I feel happier and more energetic now than I ever have before. It's not like brands brainwash you; teach your kid to live a happy, balanced life, and don't sweat so much when she's introduced to things you don't entirely approve of. If you're a good parent, she'll learn the right lessons, even when she's exposed to not-so-right things. :)

I promise that, as crappy and dumb as most marketing is, life still hasn't turned into "us versus the corporations". They're not brainwashing us, they're not trying to sap away our happiness, they're not trying to subversively integrate themselves into society – corporate branding says a bunch of bad things about our society, but that's got more to do with our society than it's got to do with those brands. If there was an organic indie alternative to Mickey D's I'd buy their shitty burgers when I wanted a shitty burger, but that's a market that's dominated by chains, so I'll eat their branded chain food until somebody figures out how to make a less corporate product that strikes my food pleasure centers that effectively.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:29 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


video game controller

Gamepad, bro, GAMEPAD. I hereby banish you to the kiddie table (i.e. the Wii).
posted by Brocktoon at 6:55 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I showed my son the Apple logo on my phone.

"What is this picture? What does it mean?"

"An Apple?"

"What does Apple do?"

"I don't know. Stop asking me questions, daddy!"
posted by Brocktoon at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2012


I don't have a problem with brand recognition at any age. It's not particularly disturbing that kids make fantastic associations with companies when young. They do the same for pretty much anything. Everything is inflated, good or bad. It's more disturbing when adults continue to worship at the corporate tit and their identity is interwoven with the products they use. We've seen this time and again with platformism for example, where just because you use Linux, a Mac, Android, or the Kobo instead of the Kindle you're condemned for having x, y, z, qualities.

I find shopping in general to be a horrible experience but those Apple Stores drive me personally insane. Orderly and yet utter chaos. Genius bar. Jesus. Can't stand that clothing company's store that is supposed to be like a night club either.

Please get off my non existent lawn!
posted by juiceCake at 8:41 PM on January 31, 2012


Sometimes it's better to have that sin food and put yourself in a happy, comfortable place than it is to force yourself into perpetual healthiness and slowly go crazy.

Just to be clear, we eat junk food. We eat burgers and fries (Five Guys is the family favourite at the moment), and we split bags of all-dressed chips and wash it down with Fanta strawberry cream soda, and we go around the corner to Chicken on the Way (a Calgary institution) for the 7-piece family pack of fried chicken with the excellent chips on the side. We've got an econo-sized box of Pocky in the house just at the moment.

We generally avoid multinational fast food chains - and McDonald's in particular - because even though I ate at those places regularly well into my twenties, I quit McD's completely about ten years ago and most of the rest soon after, and every time I've broken the ban the food made me nauseous. That combined with the little plastic Disney piece of junk they foist on your kid and the most insidious, unconscionable, toddler-focussed marketing strategy on the planet is more than enough to make me totally comfortable never handing the McDonald's Corporation another cent in this lifetime.
posted by gompa at 9:15 PM on January 31, 2012


Five Guys is a multinational fast food chain (and I've yet to go to a country that didn't sell Fanta). Look McDonald's food isn't good. I feel weird after I eat their fries, but don't kid yourself that those other chains aren't on their way to corporate insidiousness as well.
posted by bluefly at 4:36 AM on February 1, 2012


Guess what I use for an Apple logo? (What?) A cherry.
Guess what I use for a Nike logo? (What?) A toe-nail.
Guess what I use for a giant McDonald's roadside sign? (What?) A lowercase m from your laptop.
Guess what I use for a Starbuck's logo? (What?) An emoticon.
posted by ericbop at 9:26 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gamepad, bro, GAMEPAD.
posted by Brocktoon


Is that like an iPad for playing games on?
posted by RobotHero at 10:11 AM on February 1, 2012


We didn't have Krispy Kreme here until about five years ago, and people went bananas for it. The fat/salt/sugar combo in general does funny things to the human brain, so maybe it is actually taste that keeps us heading there as adults. It's still the case that its cheaper for me to buy something from McDONALD'S or Greggs than it is a similar 'healthy' sandwich place like Pret, so if you've little money and want to stick to what you know, fast food gets your custom.
posted by mippy at 11:44 AM on February 1, 2012


mippy: that's interesting re: Krispy Kreme. It exploded into Canada a while back, and was HUGELY popular for a while (I remember when the red light was on, the drive thru line was out onto the street). They opened 18 stores, and had planned to open 32. Now they're down to 4 remaining, according to Wikipedia (thankfully one is near my house, for that bi-yearly craving I get for one). I don't know what that says about Canada - I think Krispy Kreme suffered from the fact that Tim Horton's has a stranglehold on the coffee n' donuts market here.

My (2 year old) son's association with brands is an interesting one. Any time we drive past Subway restaurants, he says "I want a cookie" because whenever we go to one, he gets a chocolate chunk cookie. When we go to the grocery store by our house (Metro), he says "I want a duck" because *one* time we got him a rubber duck toy there. And when we drive by McDonald's, he says "I don't want a cheeseburger" because he is a super picky eater. Lol. I'll be interested to do an experiment like this when he's 4 or 5. If I remember. Which I probably won't, unless something gets posted to Metafilter again.
posted by antifuse at 12:35 PM on February 1, 2012


Yeah, most Tesco stores, at least in London, sell them, and there's one or two shops as well. You can even get them in Harrods for god knows what reason.
posted by mippy at 6:33 AM on February 2, 2012


Yup, they sell them at grocery stores and gas stations here too. Not the same as getting a nice hot freshly baked one right at the bakery though :)
posted by antifuse at 7:17 AM on February 2, 2012


Krispy Kreme was a novelty in Canada and Canadians do love their donuts. Everyone I know had to at least try one KK donut, and they did have a brief window of popularity. The consensus though seemed to be that they were way too sweet and sugary (also not warm or fresh tasting enough). I mean, Tim Horton's donuts are ubiquitous here, and those taste plenty sugary to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2012


The big problem, for me, with Krispy Kreme doughnuts is that unless they are fresh and warm right from the bakery, they are only about 1/10 as good.
posted by antifuse at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2012


This is true of all doughnuts I think, antifuse. Personally I only like hot jam donuts. The knowledge that I am nibbling on something containing jam hot enough to actually scar me is possibly the nearest I will ever get to the thrill of extreme sports.
posted by howfar at 12:15 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


True. But once the knowledge of a warm KK doughnut is gained, it can never be forgotten. So all future cool KK doughnut tastings are tainted by the memory of that warm deliciousness. Whereas at least with Tim Horton's doughnuts, the opportunity to taste them warm rarely, if ever, occurs (at least, I've never experienced it nor do I know anybody who has). And cold (well, room temp) Timmy's doughnuts > cool KK doughnuts, by far (man, now I gotta go across the street and get a sour cream glazed).
posted by antifuse at 1:17 PM on February 2, 2012


I sort of prefer a cold Tim Horton's donut sometimes. Mmmm... But yeah, cold KK was grossosity, seriously. Like four day old pizza left out in the box.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:19 PM on February 2, 2012


Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. (SLYT)
posted by madcaptenor at 9:23 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Why am I reading a week-old post? And why didn't I see it last week?)
posted by madcaptenor at 9:36 AM on February 9, 2012


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