This may be the worst offender yet for TMF: Tired Marketing FAIL! This ad for Miss Me Girls is the back cover of the new Fall 2011 Lucky Kids, which was inserted in issues of Lucky magazine this month. (I apologize for the poor image quality. I took this photo with my phone, as I can’t find my camera.)
This picture is just gross to me. Maybe not as gross as the 10-year-old girl featured in French Vogue earlier this year, but still bad enough that I stopped in my tracks. And since I just saw this line at a local department store in the girls section, I can report that it is very much supposed to be for little girls. From the coy smile to her body posture (which certainly is reminiscent of grown-up fashion ads) to the styling with way too many grown-up elements (does she really need faux fur, a purse, jewelry and bedazzled butt pockets?) … this ad just screams: Come hither to lose your innocence and become indoctrinated into the self-loathing world of objectification!
This is basically a special section, or insert, designed to be an advertising vehicle. It’s very popular with the ad departments of print publications (I know from experience, in my past life as a newspaper reporter). Typically, special sections are devoted to a singular topic and every other page is an ad that coincidence of coincidences, sells to that topic. In the 30-page Lucky Kids insert, 17 pages devoted to full-page ads (many of them two-page ads). Gap, H&M, Target, even Gucci have ads for their tot fashions. And honestly, they are pretty much all really cute ads featuring products that look fun. That’s pretty much a home-run in the universe of special sections. Lots of ads. And readers, like me, who are interested in those products and actually look at the ads. Then I get to the back page and back cover — with two Miss Me Girls ads — and I suddenly feel my maternal instincts kick into over-drive!
What’s wrong with celebrating the innocence and fun of childhood? Why do we want our girls to grow up so soon?
Let’s help girls savor their care-free youth! Let’s help girls have good self esteem, by now subjecting them to “beauty” standards that are forced on them at younger and younger ages!