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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | AT&T Brainwashing Future Customers

AT&T Brainwashing Future Customers

The newest in AT&T’s “Let’s see what the kids think” commercials makes me sick. Our friendly AT&T rep sits down with pre-schoolers and asks them if “more is better.” And the darling children proceed to spew the party line, as cutely as possible. “I want more. I want more.”
Does this make anyone besides me want to throw a brick through the television screen?
Greed. Pre-schoolers. Some of the children stammer out their greediness, almost unable to express themselves. This is supposed to be cute — and promote the company in a positive way.
I realize that all advertising strives to reach that greedy part of our inner selves. But this one is just so blatant, so transparent, so insidious. Like they’re training up their future customers. And something about this suited man sitting down with the children in a school setting, where they are supposed to be learning something of value, creeps me out.
What’s next in this series? Coaching babies to say “More!” instead of “Mama?”
Anyone else offended by this advertising campaign? Or is it just me, because I have to teach large groups of children who have been brainwashed into greed and materialism by advertising while I’m trying to teach them to value learning, ethics, and citizenship?

14 Responses to AT&T Brainwashing Future Customers

  1. That is sick. We tape all our TV shows now so it’s really rare that I see a commercial except to fast forward it. Even my daughter doesn’t watch them anymore. Though when she was younger, she was definitely influenced by them.

  2. SA Larsenッ says:

    I am so glad you mentioned this. I can’t stand this commercial. I don’t watch TV much, but it seems the times I do I see this one. Drives me crazy. I’m not judging, but I do wonder what some of these child-actor parents are thinking.

  3. Linda G. says:

    I agree completely. The sad thing is, I’ve seen parents who seem to be teaching their children the same “grab everything you can before somebody else gets it” lesson.

  4. Wow…this is beyond crazy. I had no idea about this??

  5. I haven’t seen it, but I don’t think we get US channels for kids.

    I have one kid like this. Fortunately my other two are complete opposites.

  6. Marva Dasef says:

    This old Feminist find the man’s treatment of the girls in the groups disturbing as well.

    One silly boy is shaking his head and waving his hands as if this were a great talent. The girl next to him watches for a moment, then decides to say what SHE can do. The “host” cuts her off.

    In another, a girl is allowed to give her story (which, by the way, would make a great paranormal plot). The host looks at her and says “What?” In other words, he wasn’t listening to what she said.

    Otherwise, the ads are “fair and balanced” and you all know what that means.

    I do like the suggestion to tape a cheetah to grandma’s back.

  7. I know, right? There are so many odd messages that commercial makers think is clever or funny but don’t send a good message at all. It’s so much a part of our society.

    Some years ago PBS had a special on that had early grade school kids sit across from each other with one check on a checkerboard. Every time the checker made it to a side with a child that child would win a treat. The American kids never got a treat because with each alternating move, the check was pushed in opposite directions and never made it.

    They did the same thing with kids from Mexico. One child pushed it and the other child pushed it in that same direction and it continued until the first child got a treat and then they continued to work together so the other child could get a treat.

    For the American kids it was “all about me”. And no one won.

  8. Steven says:

    Commercials like that are one of the main reasons I don’t watch TV. Another main reason is I read and write too much. And you’re right to be offended by that tripe.

  9. Al says:

    I’ve not seen that commercial, but we watch VERY little tv, and have no cable. Still, you remind me of something in the April 15 TIME magazine (link for subscribers: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2140224,00.html). It’s “The Human Billboard: Social media are turning online personalities into advertising’s next big thing: walking product placements.” They are training us to be advertising drones, clearly a New Age for making money! Hallelujah!

  10. Lexa Cain says:

    I completely agree – it’s repulsive commercialism. Considering the financial disaster the world is weathering, I’d have thought that people would start realizing the danger of greed. AT&T should be ashamed of themselves. 🙁

  11. Susan Oloier says:

    No, you’re not alone. As a teacher and a parent, I think the company is preying on the innocence of children through commerialism. I am not at all amused by these commercials. Fortunately, we have no TV, so I have only viewed these in limited places.

  12. I was surprised by these commercials at first. I think I’ve numbed to them now though. Most don’t even make sense.

  13. Gwen Gardner says:

    We tape all the shows we watch so we don’t have to watch commercials. Commercials are so annoying and full of all kinds of things we don’t need. And yeah, this particular commercial just teaches children that it’s good to be greedy.

  14. The infomercials alone (b/w kids shows)make me bonkers.