Friday, August 24, 2007


I have been rather amused at the response to the recently released study on McDonalds and the loyalty its brand fosters among children, some of the opinions that people around me have expressed about the “startling finding” have left me really having to bite my lip and try not to burst out with a tirade of abuse. Leaving aside the questionable ethicality of advertising to children, people were very quick to look at the study and smugly think to themselves “oh kids, they sure are stupid”

When I first head about a study that showed that children would on the most part claim preference towards a branded item over an identical unbranded one, the news did not shock me, not even a teeny weeny bit. And when I hear “grown ups” tell me how stupid kids are for that sort of behaviour and how “its unfair because children are so impressionable” it tends to make me laugh, as the person I am speaking to tends to, more likely than not, be a complete hypocrite.

Let me get one thing clear, as far as I am concerned we are all those children and some of those grown ups among us have much worse tendencies to go for the branded item, it may change in time from preference for a fast food brand, like say McDonalds to an undying loyalty for a clothing company like Topshop.

The difference between the two? The excuses get a little better, and it becomes so widespread that it becomes more acceptable and less frowned upon by people to indulge in your blind preference for one branded product over an essentially identical equivalent.

I use Topshop as an example due to the recent revelation that some of its clothing manufacturing was taking place in sweatshops in the third world, I’m sure this will dissuade some customers of Topshop, but you can rest assured that most fashion conscious people will assure you that a White 100% cotton t-shirt made in a sweatshop from Topshop is better than a White 100% cotton Nike t-shirt made in a sweatshop and certainly better than a White 100% cotton t-shirt made in a sweatshop sold in Penney’s for 1/10th of the cost.

I don’t mean to pick on clothing, or indeed on Topshop the examples get worse and the excuses that accompany them become more and more incredible. My personal favourite is bottled water, something about believing water tastes better from a €1.50 Evian bottle than it does from a €0.30 Tesco bottle, or even… from a tap, makes me really despair about peoples level of intelligence.

We are all the children … our excuses and wallets get bigger.

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