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Living the Life

The Color of Money

In the United States, money is mostly green — much to the consternation of those new to the country who are used to bills of different colors. Money is also whatever color the bank, retail or credit companies use for their cards. The recent financial crisis has exposed fraud, corruption and greed, but it has also highlighted a few realities: Americans are consumers and live on credit.

Marketing to Children

Is it ethical to market to kids?

The consumer training starts early with advertising directed at kids and their parents’ wallets. Saturday morning cartoons are no longer just a half-hour of entertainment — they’re marketing vehicles for toys, games, and foods. Kids are told their friends have it, they need it; parents succumb to the nag factor and the reinforcement cycle of need and want begins.

Adults are not immune either. A recent series of Audi ads pokes fun at what you’ve been “told to desire”. The timing of these ads — in light of America’s financial woes — may not be the best, but the sentiment certainly hit the mark as Americans have been told over and over that desire trumps necessity and wants should be gratified.

Until recently, shop ’til you drop is almost a mantra in some households as personal debt far outpaced personal savings. And while most Americans are more aware of their financial situation than ever before, there is the never-ending stream of analysis and reports that at best offer conflicted views on spending v. savings. Or they can be worse than advertisers in their continued advocacy of spending as a way to improve the economy.

Dollar

Have fun with money

If advertisers can reach out to kids to foster the consumer mentality, then fiscal responsibility and money management should also be part of their education. And it’s never too late for adults to practice economy and living within their income. Shopping can be a pleasurable activity or a chore depending on your point of view. What it shouldn’t be is a road to bankruptcy and financial instability.

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