Sunday, April 01, 2012

'Hop's' Epic Fail

It's Good Friday. You want some family time, and it's a long weekend, and those hot cross buns are sitting kind of heavy, so you think "I know what I'll do! I'll rent Hop." After all, it's a cute little family Easter movie to watch with the kiddies while you pop Mini Eggs and marshmallow bunnies, right?



Here's why.

There's the poor little wandering Easter Bunny, just looking for a place to stay for the night. See the gates behind him?

Yes, that's right: he thought he'd try the Playboy Mansion - after all, the guidebook says "home of sexy bunnies", and he is - to use his own words - "incredibly sexy". He has a little conversation over the intercom with Hugh Hefner about whether or not he qualifies.

"They wouldn't understand anyway," says my husband in response to my ranting in the kitchen afterwards. And will the preschool/school-age target audience for this movie know what "Playboy" is? Of course not. This is one of those adult-themed jokes that children's entertainers seem to think obligatory these days. It's like a snide little wink over the tops of the kids' heads.

But when my eight year old sees some idiot's bunny-with-bowtie mudflaps on the back of their pickup in the Thrifty Foods parking lot, she is going to think to herself, "Oh, that's from Hop!" And she will give a little smile and think about candy and laughs and good times.

That's called "branding", and it's one of the hottest marketing concepts of our time. We've all heard about the study involving preschoolers, where they recognise the golden arches. (Actually, our kids have a lot more imprinting than just McDonald's - this is worth a quick read.)

Playboy is just as recognisable a brand as any other. It's one of the original pioneers - if you can call it that - in an industry that is now worth 12 billion dollars a year in the US alone.

And hell - we're advertising to kids already, right? Give them a few years and they won't be kids anymore - they'll be adults: fully integrated consumers...might as well start prepping them now to contribute to that 12 billion dollars a year. Know how much income tax that generates?

And we haven't even talked about the gender issues yet. You can buy t-shirts for little girls that say "Future Porn Star" - you can buy thongs for little girls. And then there are the men's jeans whose care tags read "Give it to your woman: It's her job".

I thought we had come a long way, but I might be wrong. The pendulum seems to be swinging back, and my daughters are growing up in an age where they will learn their place as sex objects, no matter what I do about it.

Last night I had a dream that I was at a party where I was the only one who didn't want to eat the tarantula cheesecake. Huge black tarantulas, with red bits on their legs, crushed up and mixed with the sugar, the eggs, the cream cheese, and the melted chocolate. Horrifying, disgusting, unpalatable, sinister, and probably harmful - in a deliciously sweet and silky dessert.

Because that way, it goes down pretty easily.


Gwen said...

I'm going to right now to check out property... I'll buy enough for both of us.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Well, you know how I feel about the Easter Bunny - so we went over to the store and bought 'Godspell' as our Easter movie. The kids love musicals so they won't even notice that the Easter Bunny was spurned by Hef. Got Helpen Lars!

kate said...

Great post, Shan.

Megan said...

This is great. Thanks for posting it.

Cynthia said...

So maddening! Thanks for the warning.

Annalea said...

So far, a day hasn't gone by that I've regretted my decision to opt out of modern media. This astounds me . . . nearly as much as the popularity of the Hunger Games within my own church. It all makes me want to . . . well, I'm not quite sure what. Definitely check the buckles and straps on my armor, a la Ephesians. That's for sure.

Children are no longer sacred. And that's the worst tragedy of all.

gena said...

Oh, ew. Not that we were interested in seeing anyway, as Coco still doesn't sit still that long, but I'll definitely put it on our NO list.

Susie Hewer said...

The poor little bunny. That's just wrong on so many levels.

When I was running the London marathon yesterday someone behind me shouted "Oh look, the golden gates of Maccy D; what I wouldn't give for a burger now". I just felt sorry for them!