Wednesday 11 November 2009

A lesson on marketing

When Ebi-kun brushed his teeth I noticed that he needed a new toothbrush, I mentioned to him that we would get one when we went to the drug store. ' I want a character one' he said, I asked him why but he couldn't come up with an answer, so before we went shopping we did a little lesson, it was very impromptu and I just used what we had on hand.
I set out my shop with 3 types of Lego*, some were on a card with Anpanman, it was ¥30 a piece, some on a card with a cute helicopter at ¥20 yen and the others were on a plain card at ¥10, these represented the different 'branded' goods. Anpanman is big business here (although I think Pooh-san AKA Winne The Pooh was the biggest selling character last year).
I then gave Ebi-kun some money and a list of the Lego he needed to do a new project, all he had to do was buy all the pieces he needed. I did fix it somewhat by only giving him just enough money to buy all the pieces only if he bought non branded Lego.

It did backfire a bit because he didn't want Anpanman, he doesn't like him, he did want the helicopter Lego, he bought as many pieces as possible but realised he couldn't afford to buy all that he needed. he pondered the situation for a while then asked if he could get some more money out of his money box! After telling him that he could only use the money in hand, he decided to sell the helicopter Lego back to me so he could buy the non branded.

We talked about the lego and the fact that is was, in fact, all the same, just that some had a picture on it which made it more expensive and how companies splash pictures of kids favourite characters on it to encourage people to buy it. We also touched on things being more expensive because they are better quality but I didn't want to get too bogged down with that, we can save that for another day.

Later when we went to the drug store we compared the prices of character goods again the store brand and in most cases they were more expensive. Only time will tell if the lesson sunk in.

*yes, I know it is somewhat ironic to be using Lego for this!

On a completely different note, we did lots of painting yesterday, got 4 Christmas presents done, well they need a lick of varnish but mostly done. I also made a cute little bag and cut out 3 others, we have 4 little friends/relatives that were born within a couple of months of each other so I always make them gifts on a theme, this time, little bags. Photos to follow....


  1. cool idea! I hope I can remember it when the issue comes up for us!

  2. I was just wondering about this issue the other day. Have you thought about how to respond to Ebikun when he starts Yochien next year? He is likely to get more peer group pressue then don't you think? Sorry for being nosey. I am just curious to see what parents do to eliminate/reduce the influence of these characters.

    I do like the way you explain to him.

  3. Thankfully the yochien doesn't encourage this madness but no doubt we will come up against peer pressure, I suppose we will just sit and talk about it in a similar manner when it happens.


Thank you!
I love hearing from you and if you haven't joined us in Moms That Rock, come on over!

Pin It button on image hover