Monday, November 26, 2012


A few weeks ago I attended a child’s birthday party. I found my eyeballs accosted by several brands, starting with Disney. The child was fan of the Disney film Cars and according to his parents, wore only clothes branded with images from the movie. “Even his underwear is not spared,” said the father sighing to himself. I was not surprised considering the birthday cake, napkins, paper plates, plastic cups, return gift wrappers and some of the balloons were all “Cars” branded. Many other children in the party had similar preferences – Barbie, Little Mermaid, Dora, some Japanese Manga-like characters many more I was unfamiliar with.

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While I was assimilating this information, I looked around to see if there were other brands on display. Sure enough, I spotted the child’s parents, like many others, sporting clothes from a leading sportswear brand. The men in the party almost unanimously sported a Polo Tee. The women were seen comparing bags and shoes, admiring each others’ clothes, picking on food, and discussing why a certain brand of olive oil was better than the others in the market.

The irony was not lost on me.

Why complain about a brand obsessed child when adults are no different? Why give in to the child’s demands, when you supposedly feel otherwise? Is it because we find it hard to practice what we would preach about? Or is it just fashionable to complain?

As the evening progressed, I heard some parents say they were “helpless” in controlling their child’s desire for branded things. Is this the same “helplessness” that we are confronted with when we overspend on our credit cards and blame the shop’s display for luring us and manipulating our weakness?

Why not just admit it is convenient to buy your peace at home by giving the little devils what they need? Naah. That will be betraying the Cult of Super Honest Parents. How about saying you want your child to be an all-rounder and hence the exposure to various brands? Hmm. That will betray the Society of Parents Wanting Normal Kids (Of course, bizarre is the new normal). What about – I have some money to spare and don’t mind indulging the child? Huh! You know how the Hate Vijay Mallya Camp will react to that. (On the other hand the trustees of Being Sid and Loving It might extend an invitation to your child).

The adult ability to be influenced by peer pressure far exceeds that of a child. Maybe it is time to simply say “Well, blame me”.