So we had swim class in the morning and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival in the afternoon. It was a full day, to be sure, but the real challenge was that the two were 40 miles apart. So while the Junior Partner was practicing his up-faces, I took the older two to a nearby Subway to get sandwiches for a quick lunch on the road. Unfortunately, when I ordered a kid’s meal for the three-year-old, it came in a bag emblazoned with the Green Lantern character from the recent film. A film, I will note, that is rated PG-13 by the MPAA and given a 4.7.4 for sex, violence, and profanity by Kids-in-Mind.com.
The sandwich that comes with the kid’s meal from Subway — between 150 and 200 calories and weighing in at a mere 3.8 to just over 5 ounces, including bread and condiments — is too small to feed anyone older than, perhaps, a kindergartener and, really, is most suited for a preschooler. And, yet, the meal comes with promotional materials for a movie that even the MPAA says should be limited to teenagers. Could it be that Subway disagrees with the MPAA and Kids-In-Mind or are they just looking to get more bodies in their theatres, even if it means using kids to do so?
I suspect that the studio that paid for this promotion mainly wants to get parents to go see the movie but likely would have little to no problem with the idea of filling their seats with toddlers. So the question that pops into my head is whether or not this is this an acceptable means of advertising to parents. Frankly, my answer is no.
I certainly understand the need for advertising and, frankly, wouldn’t know what movies I’d like to see were it not for the marketing efforts of the movie studios. What I don’t like, however, is taking advantage of young children to push one’s message. I don’t need the hassle of my three-year-old coming to me and begging to see a movie I wouldn’t let my oldest watch but, thanks to Subway, that’s exactly what I could end up with, were I to let him play with the provided materials.
Ultimately, as the parent, it’s up to me to ensure my kids only get suitable and appropriate playthings but I still have to chastise Subway for making my job that much harder.