So Toys “R” Us has this ad about how boring trees are and how ecstatically enthralling Toys “R” Us is.
Note the little girl saying, “A princess is loyal, and never gives up, and always follows her dreams.” Unless of course her dreams have anything to do with learning about trees as opposed to toys in shiny boxes.
This ad is offensive on so many levels:
- It insults science and environmental education teachers.
- It insults science and environmental education programs and field trips.
- It insults science and nature in general
- It insults children (though no doubt these kids got free toys, and maybe even money, to be in the ad — how awesome).
- It promotes blind commercialism and consumerism (OK, I know that’s the society we live in, and the purpose of ads, and the only real goal of Toys “R” Us, but to be so blatantly offensive and insensitive?)
- It sends the message, as Colbert so cogently notes that “The great outdoors is nothing compared to the majesty of a strip mall.”
Colbert? Yes, Colbert.
One doesn’t expect toy companies to advertise science, but I think it’s reasonable to expect them not to go out of their way to piss on it. Peter Gleick goes on:
My wife is an overworked, underpaid science educator, teaching university students how to teach science to elementary school children. It is an uphill battle: not because kids don’t love science. They do. Frankly, young children are wonderful, curious, wide-eyed natural scientists. It is an uphill battle because the resources our society devotes to science education are pathetic. Elementary school teachers get little or no support or training for science education. Materials are outdated or confusing. There is no funding for decent field trips. And our kids are bombarded with subtle (and here, blatant) messages promoting blind, thoughtless, consumerism.
The results are beginning to show, as the United States falls farther and farther behind other countries in producing top-quality science, technology, engineering, and math students (STEM).
All of us, including major corporations, could change this. Some companies actually play an important and valuable role in supporting science and nature education in this country. But sending the messages that Toys “R” Us sent with this despicable ad only hurts that effort. I wonder: What did it cost to produce this ad, and what is being spent to air it? And how much does Toys”R”Us contribute to science and environmental education? It couldn’t possibly be enough to counter the damage of this kind of message.
Guy must be some kind of communist.