Did I over-react?

This is a post about learning…but bear with me while I work off a ranty-preamble…

The six-year-old had a lesson on banking today from a well-known Southern Hemisphere bank. Let’s call it the Absolutely Solid Bank, for argument’s sake. She came home, all excited about a cash-gobbling monster stomping through stories with a salutary message: ‘Zoom to your needs, and wait for your wants.’ No argument from me thus far.

But then we argued…sorry, strongly discussed…the need for her to then wear a tattoo emblazoned with the brand of the bank that was a freebie at the end of the lesson. She loved the colour, the idea of the tattoo. And, apparently, everyone will have them on tomorrow…

What got to me most was the way the kids were being branded (albeit temporarily) by a corporate logo, sucked in by a shiny, ‘cool’ ploy (not to mention the looong list of crazy chemicals that are in these stick-on tats). So I resorted to bribery (money in her piggy bank in exchange for the tattoo. Fair, sensible, even ironic swap). If the bank wants to be altruistic, then the learning experience is fine. Otherwise, perhaps they shouldn’t be allowed to come and market themselves to primary children.

I love the message of saving, and I believe strongly in the value of financial literacy. But not at the expense of learning about the value of information literacy and the power of advertising. A hard lesson to learn when the person is teaching the first, but exploiting the second.

And when they come armed with shiny bribes.

[Image source: Naypong]

6 thoughts on “Did I over-react?

  1. I think so often schools are a captive audience for any marketing ploy that may be remotely linked to some educational thread.

    They are all good causes in themselves but schools can be inundated by good causes- book clubs, Heart Foundation, daffodil day, poppy selling, conservation, financial literacy, NZ arts festival, NZTA, SPCA, RWC…

    It’s hard to say no to any of them.

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  2. Odd. We have the shiny Absolutely Solid Bank at our place – but have never had to hand out tattoos or stamps or any such flim-flam.

    We have the financial literacy resources as part of mathematics curriculum – but not linked to any bank. Considering how poorly the “big” branded banks have been run over the last few years, I’m surprised any bank would want to put their name to a financial literacy course!

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  3. I remember being quite impressed by the resources Jon came home with a few years back. But I think the treats might have been lollipops and balloons.
    And of course lollipops are non grata now. I used his enthusiasm and took him down to open an account at our bank.
    On the assumption it is the same bank doing the – they are/were the only one taking the loss of providing a school banking service.

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  4. I’m in two minds. On one hand I can totally see why you are upset!! We don’t have a TV and I was shocked when at a friend’s place recently and I saw the ads between the cartoons – talk about brainwashing them early!!!! On the other, I can imagine some young marketing person with spiky gelled hair in an office somewhere feeling all enthusiastic about getting into schools and wanting to do something to make them smile. (or I could be dreaming 🙂

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