Be aware that corporate marketers will seek access to your kids


Never, ever doubt that corporations are always on the lookout for creative ways to market to your child in any venue they can – especially if they can do it when you are not there.

My kids have become alert reporters of inappropriate marketing to children. I received this text message from 16-year-old RL in driver’s ed class:

“Valvolines giving a presentation on preventative maintenance… we aall got free oil change coupons…”

Note the stoplight sketch. “Slow down if  light is yellow”!

I paid for this state-required course, in order to give Valvoline an opportunity to market their services and products to my son. That’s Valvoline, a subsidiary of Ashland, Inc., a company with a market capitalization of $5.9 billion.

You can almost see the marketing team sitting around the conference table: “How can we, too, get us a piece of that lucrative teen market? Where can we find a captive audience of youth without parents present?” The big idea: Provide free service to the driver’s ed school in exchange for access to kids.

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