In my first post I described an exercise to explain Internet advertising to my son’s kindergarten class. That lesson really on the mechanics of how the ads got to the pages and how the web, in general, works. The next step was to explain how advertising itself works.
The kids know what advertising is. I wish I had videotaped their descriptions (“it’s when they try to trick you into buying something you don’t need”). But how does it work? I started by telling a joke:
ME: There was a man, who lived pretty close to here, and he said a funny joke. Do you want to hear the joke?
ME: Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half!
KID IN FIRST ROW: That’s weird.
So let’s show the kids how advertising works. First principal: kids like snacks! I brought two kinds of cheese sticks to the class, “regular” and “cheddar”:
I held them up the class and the kids were excited (everyone likes cheese sticks!). I asked for a volunteer who was a good counter. My son raised his hand (so proud!). I then asked the kids to vote on which type of cheese stick they wanted, regular or cheddar. The results were tabulated by my little man and written on the board as follows:
- Cheddar: 6
- Regular: 6
Then I reached into my bag and pulled out an advertisement…for cheddar cheese!
I think I caught one of the teachers snickering at me at this point. I gave a little voice over extolling the benefits of cheddar cheese. “It is delicious!” “It is aged in a cave!” “It can be orange or yellow or even white!” Let’s pass around the cheddar cheese ad so everyone can see…
“Did I mention that cheddar comes from happy cows?”
“Yes, the cows live on the green fields of Ireland and their only care in the world is how to create the world’s greatest cheddar cheese.” Let’s pass around the pictures of the cows and sheep to the little kids.
I think it’s time for a post-campaign survey. Let’s raise our hands again and vote. Who wants regular? And who wants cheddar?
- Cheddar: 9
- Regular: 2
Postscript: My wife texted me later in the day to say “Your son is saying you tricked him into liking the wrong cheese”. Indeed.