How to Talk to Kids About Working in Advertising

Let’s get real, outside of our marketing bubble; the real humans don’t admire advertising as much as we think. For them, advertising is that annoying video that interrupts their favorite YouTube home-gym workout; it’s the display banner that keeps showing them the electric screwdriver already bought on Amazon last week, or the desired live sports TV interruption that helps them replenish their drink or chips bowl without missing a goal. That’s the opponent we have when our families are asking us to talk about our work. And with small kids, it gets even worse.

My 5-year-old son was super excited initially, knowing his daddy works for M&M’s candies. Then disappointments hit him one by one when he discovered I don’t work in the dream-like chocolate factory, nor I help baking his favorite candy or drive my car to get chocolate delivered to our local supermarket. Working from home for an entire year revealed my real job to him.

Yes, son, daddy is working in advertising. Every day, daddy is speaking with some people with weird headphones on Zoom about the annoying videos that you discovered how to skip on YouTube when you were three years old. But instead of making them shorter or fewer, so you can watch Paw Patrol easier, he is finding innovative ways to make you watch one more second, to seduce you with a shiny candy taste or a funny new joke. He does this, hoping that you will remember that candy one day when you will have to make a buying decision or begging for candy.

Yes, daddy is not baking the real m&m’s, but he helps you discover the new flavor you don’t know you wanted: custard m&m’s, anyone? By talking with lots of people, showing them lots of candy, and asking them questions, daddy understands what they want. That way, Daddy is telling the factory to make more Yellow m&m’s instead of Brown m&m’s because he knows most people like them more.

And lastly, daddy promotes candy to be more popular so that all people will choose m&m’s over another chocolate. And this way, daddy helps the families of the m&m’s factory colleague, the chocolate delivery driver, and the others he interacts with to have a more peaceful end of the year, knowing that they will come back to their much-needed work place in 2021.

How do you talk to your kids about working in Advertising?

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

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