“Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made!”

We got a flyer/coupon in the mail today from the Disney Store (which was sent to us because we have bought from the Disney catalog before – the Munchkin’s first Halloween costume). The coupon is pretty good – 15% off your total purchase (of course, it excludes DVDs and CDs and books, so they really just want you to buy clothes and stuffed animals, apparently), but it was the actual flyer that caught the Munchkin’s complete and total attention.

Cars. The whole flyer was dedicated to the movie. T-shirts, remote-control toy cars, hats, kid’s first set of melamine dishes, TV trays, stuffed… cars, jackets, scooter… you name it, they’ve got it. And my sweet little two-year-old is sold on it, hook, line and sinker.

We watch a very limited amount of the Disney Channel – mostly just Lilo and Stitch. But when Disney Channel stopped being a “premium” channel in the 90’s and got put on basic expanded cable, they stopped with the commercial-free format. But they don’t broadcast regular commercials, they only sell their own stuff. What does this mean? Constant brand marketing.

So, the Munchkin, already hyped up for the movie, sees this flyer in the mail. “Oh, Mommy, look! It’s Cars!!” she squeals.

Now, I already have sworn off going into the Disney Store when she is with me at the mall. Every single time we go in there, I end up buying some kind of cheap crap (and sometimes, not-so-cheap crap) because I just know that she’ll love it, and she usually has some kind of gift money from the most recent holiday that I haven’t spent for her yet. Case in point: the last time we went in there was shortly after Valentine’s Day. She had gotten $5 from my Obachan as a little gift. She saw the sunglasses. They were $5.99, so we walked out of there with a pair of pretty decent green-with-a-little-Lilo-decal-in-the-corner sunglasses. It was February! Did she need sunglasses? No! Yes, they have come in handy since, but that’s not the point! Her Nemo cell phone can’t call 911, so there you go! Not everything that comes out of that store is useful!

Speaking of gift money, every time the kids get some, it always seems to be the Munchkin who gets a new toy. Baby Boy, who has more clothes than time to wear them, and plenty of toys of his own (besides what his sister has handed down to him), always seems to get something useful (like clothes for next summer, or a swim diaper for this summer), while his sister gets the fun stuff. However, I’m sure that when he has preferences (and can talk), he’ll be begging me for the newest and best toy. But back to the story…

Now, the movie actually comes out a week from now. The Webmaster and I have discussed it, and we are planning on taking the Munchkin. She is a Pixar nut, and it’s rated G, so we figured that she was old enough to see it in the theater. Baby Boy will have to hang out with Grandma, because Auntie wants to come along, too (but she’s paying for her own ticket). Now, she does not know this yet, so shhhh… But if she’s that worked up about a flyer in the mail, can you imagine what would happen if we told her we were going to see it in the theater??? Depending on our schedules, we may or may not see it on opening weekend, anyway.

But the marketing has worked, and my kid is sold on the movie. At least she’s got good taste. Still, that coupon will not be used in her presence, because I’m so proud of her at the moment that I might buy out the entire store for her. And that would be bad. But why am I so proud and happy? She pooped in the potty yesterday!!!! (Cue the angelic chorus!) She has already been amply rewarded (got a new doll for her dollhouse out of our reward stash), but I’m so euphoric that if I walked in there with her, I might max out my credit card. I may be euphoric, but I’m not stupid. So we’re going to stay away for now.

Her brother is wearing that Stitch costume next Halloween – because the Munchkin wants to be Lilo. We’ve got to get our money’s worth out of that thing.

And a side note: thanks to everyone who left comments after my last post! I feel better about being “normal” now. Thanks to all of my readers – I really do appreciate you all. 🙂

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