Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rampant branding, bah!

Needed gumboots for the kids. Yes, it rains more than plenty here. But do you think I could easily find a pair without some idiotic character on them?

You can buy gumboots with Dora, Bratz, Fairies, Ninja Turtles, Wiggles and oodles of other brands on them. You wouldn’t think unbranded would be so damned hard to find. Kmart? In a whole rack there was one pair in an unbranded design, in the wrong size. Oh, and two pairs of camo ones, but we try to avoid camo, it’s a small doses only thing. Target? Snort, same again. Best & Less? They don’t believe in gumboots. Impractical shoes certainly, but not gumboots. I finally remembered where a Payless was and lo and behold! Tucked away with the Bob the Builder ones, Aussie Gumboots with no idiotic branding! One pink pair and one yellow pair later we exited the shop having paid less than we would have for one Dora the Explorer pair at Kmart.
Why on earth is it getting so hard to find anything for kids that isn’t licensed? We had the same problem with backpacks and ended up finding some at Anaconda. You really have to search to find anything targeted at children that isn’t merchandised. Most people don’t care but my children are not walking advertisements, nor are they mindless clones. Nor are they precocious little tarts, a la Bratz style, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant. Is there actually that much demand for it? Do parents really think it’s fantastic to have everything their child owns plastered with Dora the Explorer? Or do people just buy what’s available? Because of branding power are these products undercutting and eventually killing the unbranded items and getting them removed from stores?

And, on a tangent, do some parents let their kids do the bossing? I’ve heard a few parents say things along the lines of “He won’t brush his teeth without a Shrek toothbrush”, or “She throws a tantrum unless she has a Wiggles nappy”. Amazing, here I was thinking they did these things because that’s what’s expected of them. Whatever did our grandparents do with their plain white nappies and boring toothbrushes? There must have been soooo many tantrums :P

Enough ranting from me for now, I need to start planning my full days shopping adventure to find my kids some boring t-shirts.

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