Steve Wiley: What to Do When Your Kids Become Corporate Branding Machines

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Look Daddy, There's a Swoosh on My Shirt

As a small-business owner, I've seen the ruthless tactics of the corporate whores (a term I've used often) firsthand, and as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not sure whether my vocal colleagues and I ever did much to slow them down. That's probably the reason I'm sitting at this keyboard instead of standing behind a counter.

Worse, although I'm still an indie-aware adult (chronologically, at least) consumer, and even though I'm fully aware of the tactics, I find it hard to fight off the corporate attack on my brain. I know damn well that I'm still being affected by corporate branding.

It's everywhere. Online. On TV. On my phone. At the schools, the concerts, the sporting events. Once you start thinking about it, the pervasiveness is amazing.

Side Note: You can't brand at this level if you are little -- only if you're big. My favorite example is the gift card kiosk at the grocery store (see the pic). Take a look at that thing. If there's something local on there, chances are it's a chain that started here and has already expanded. Why? The rich are rich enough to get richer. So grab another corporate gift card while you're here.

If they still get through to me, how can I expect my kids to fight it off?

Especially when my kids don't really seem to give a shit, in spite of my well-intended teachings (which they would call ramblings at best, lectures at worst). They've got other things on their minds (or not, depending on the moment).

Especially when it's hard to find products like shoes that aren't a major brand even if you are looking. (For that matter, made in America. I challenge you to go to a shoe store and find American-made).

Especially when companies like Disney, Nike, and the rest of the Grocery-spinner gang are spending millions of dollars to infiltrate their brains.

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Steve Wiley
Contact: Steve Wiley