Not in front of the children… Are our kids over-exposed to brands?

Have you seen the UK version of the hit Life on Mars? Its set in the 70’s and I love it partly because its like a trip down memory lane. Brands and associated imagery I haven’t seen for 35 years or more come flooding back  As I mused on the program other Iconic UK Brands of yesteryear came flooding back, Corgi model cars, Chad Valley board games, Typhoo tea, Bisto Gravy and Birds Custard powder all sprang to mind.

Amongst all this nostalgia came one moment of enlightenment, the  realisation of what a sheltered ‘brand’ life I led as a child. My brand exposure was closely controlled by that most ruthless of administrators – my mother. I never questioned her decisions, she knew best. I can list of 40 or 50 brands I remember, and all of them would fit neatly under a ‘G’rating.

How very different it is for my kids growing up in the 21st century.

First off my mum had only to control exposure to one commercial TV channel and one newspaper to effectively control the dissemination of information to her growing brood.

My kids can access a mind boggling array of communication channels… added to that they have access to many of those channels 24/7. They are the beneficiaries of an environment which exposes them to brands when they are away from home and outside my influence. The brands they come across cover the entire spectrum from G to R18+.

Secondly where as a child I hardly recognised that I was being exposed to brands, by comparison my kids are conscious and greedy consumers of brands, they seek them out.

So are my kids dangerously exposed to ‘brands’. No.

In fact I’d argue they’re better equipped than I was. When I was a child we believed in everything our limited set of brands told us. My kids don’t. In an environment where competing brands scream for their attention they have learned to evaluate, consider and challenge. Fail the test and you’re off the list.

In 2010 they hold brands far more accountable than I did as a child.

At Truly Deeply we specialise in helping our clients communicate effectively with and stay relevant to their audience.
If you’d like to speak to us about how we can help you be a brand that is relevant for today’s consumer why not give us a call.

Malcolm Harvey

Client Experience Director and Brand Nostalgist.


  1. Great post Mal, It’s an interesting subject of much debate – does increased exposure to extreme brands create mor capable brand consumers? The one thing that is beyond question; these days brands need to be much more sophisticated in the way they connect and build meaningful relationships with their market – whatever age they may be.

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