Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are we part of the ‘vulnerable pocket’ of consumers?

I read an article this morning sent to me from Knowledge @ Wharton entitled “Robbing the Cradle? If Marketers Get Their Way, That Bundle of Joy can cost a Bundle.

As I was reading it, it occurred to me that it’s actually a very scary because it is VERY EASY for us as parents to fall into the whole scheme of things.

The scheme preys on the usual activities we do and how we think.
1) We want the best for our kids since we know that from birth till age two, a child’s brain develops most.
2) We are all shoppers one way or another – either weekends or online
3) We love our kids therefore we visit the children’s section
4) We are bombarded with marketing words like “genius”, “prodigy” etc.
5) We think: “I want to give my child the best” and “There is no harm in getting these videos and toys”
6) We buy and buy and buy…because we fall into the ‘vulnerable pocket’ of target consumers.

It is an easy trap to fall in, won’t you say?

There has been no real evidence that any of these educational toys really work. What they do actually is provide parents and children an opportunity to discover new things together (and these are only for the toys and not the videos). But there are many other things that we can use actually. All it takes is a little time, effort and creativity from us as parents.

But we are too tired at the end of the day to engage in creativity and still think about developmental activities for our kids to do. So, at the end of the day, we take the easy way out and buy and buy hoping that these toys will make up for what we are lacking.

There are several points made in this article that (sigh) my mum has been nagging me about as well.
1) No TV for children below age of 2.
2) Read, read, read

The love for books, according to my mum, must be cultivated at a very early age…OR ELSE !!!

This concept does not only apply to educational toys for our young, they apply to baby bottles, baby diapers and ALL things baby related.

When preparing for the birth of my child, I struggled against the peer pressure that only AVENT is good enough for your baby! (I am admittedly rebellious by nature) and now I also struggle against the notion that only MAMA POKO and HUGGIES (minimum standard being red) are good enough for your baby’s butt !

Sometimes I wonder if I am not a good mother unless I buy these brands. Many have told me that they are really good. And no doubt they are since they are after all the highest priced brands in the market and so they must have done some research into their product.

But I have come to peace with this matter (after 8 months of praying and struggling with this) in that different babies are different. And what may not work for my neighbour’s baby may work out SUPER DUPER fine for me.


Ponytail said...

I think I am part of the vulnerable pocket of consumers :P
It took me a couple of months of caring for Zoe to actually find out what diapers, bottles, diaper cream, baby bath and etc that are suitable for her...
Before that I just buy according to recommendations and also some free gifts..spend quite a lot there!

Cannot help it, as new mother, everything about baby is most important...

Slowly, we will discover what baby needs and most of the time, they are really like us...in every aspect...

If it feels right to you, it most probably will feel just right for baby :)

simon said...

we're the epitomy of budget parenting. Not to sound mean, but the baby won't be able to tell the diff...

Kathie "Moomykin" Yeoh said...

Start with the basic and see if they do have specific needs, i.e. sensitive skin would require a bit more care than if not. But i think we should try out all kinds of brands.

I too bought 6 Avent bottles from the time I carried Micah and both my boys refuse the hard silicone nipple! So since birth Micah takes whatever else brand and Max wants only "Mommy" brand!

Diapers: as long as they are the breathable type. Butt cream try Bepanthen. That's been a wonder to my sis' girl who has bad nappy rash. My boys have easy going butts. :)

Ann said...

Ponytail - you are right, it is all about trial and error....for each baby is different.

And as they grow, their needs change as well....

Simon - spoke to your wife about this as well. Glad that we are in like minds about budgeting. Makes me feel I am not alone in the world.

Kathie - thanks for the tips. I have stopped ALL buying until my baby comes out and I am able to gage how sensitive he is.

Cecilia Koh said...

Hi Ann
Expensive does not necessary mean that the item is good. Since your baby is not born yet, I suggest you buy only 2 packs of diapers for immediate use because babies grow so fast these days. Once your baby is born then you can gauge what is most suitable for your baby. If you have bought Avent bottles, you might consider getting a couple of Dr Brown teats which are softer and easier for newborns as the Avent teats are too hard and difficult for newborns to suckle.
All the best for the birth. Give me a shout if you need help