Monday, May 4, 2009

"Do You Want Fries With That?"

I think the best kind of learning happens when kids don't know they're "learning." And I love to find out about this incidental learning when it comes out in conversations with the kids. Today Oliver and I were discussing advertising tactics over burgers at McDonald's. He really wanted to get one of the new iced coffee drinks they're advertising in the restaurant(with a huge poster-looks totally refreshing). I told him I didn't think today was a good day to get one because we had all the little children with us.

"Oh well" Oliver said resignedly. "It's probably all just margarine at the top of the picture, anyway."

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well, McDonald's just wants their food to sell, so when they're taking the pictures they don't really use the real food. They use margarine for ice cream so it looks fluffier and not all melted. They glue sesame seeds on to puffed up hamburger buns so that every seed is in perfect place."

I looked at my smashed hamburger bun. It definitely didn't resemble the fluffy bun on the picture on the menu. But I didn't know how Oliver was suddenly such an expert on fast food marketing ploys.

"So how do you know all of this? It sounds a little crazy."

"I read it in that Do Not Open book" (really cool book by John Farndon -available at Amazon)

Oliver had read the book (we had checked it out of the library a couple months ago). He found it to be very interesting. The conversation turned into Oliver's disbelief that people (marketers) get paid to think up advertising for big corporations.

"That sounds like a fun job !" Oliver said, as he crammed his mouth full of fries. Life doesn't get any better, in my opinion.