Archive for December, 2013

My Kind of Commercial(ism)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

My Kind of Commercial(ism)

Feel good commercials are big this time of year. Many are designed to evoke emotion—maudlin, supposedly heart-warming mini stories that are more emotionally manipulative than authentically moving. Others try to be avant-garde. More often than not, commercials can be misleading and utilize all kinds of trickery to appeal to people, especially kids. Every once in a while, however, a marketing campaign comes along that hits all of the right notes.  Take for instance—of all-things—a shampoo commercial. Making a splash all over social media lately is Pantene’s commercial from the Philippines. It’s thoughtful, provocative, and doesn’t even show the product its selling.  It’s all about the labels we give to ourselves and others, particularly women. Granted, the commercial is selling the idea that using the right shampoo can give you confidence, but it’s a darn interesting commercial. It’s one worth watching and remembering—especially for other advertising executives. People now have endless choices when it comes to purchasing products. While price and quality are key, intelligent marketing can go a long way.  In a perfect world, it would be easy to buy products that are made thoughtfully, with natural ingredients using local resources as well as socially responsible manufacturing and marketing. As consumers put more thought into what they purchase, doesn’t it follow that more thought should go into the commercials—and not just the labels?

 

 

Time Shift Your TV – Writers Guild Nominees

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Time Shift Your TV – Writers Guild nominees

The Writers Guild of America, the labor union comprised of thousands of writers who work in television, film, animation, news and new media, recently announced its nominations for 2014 in TV, so we thought we’d take a look at what the group found to be worth highlighting.

Only three shows were nominated in the Children’s category. They are:

Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm. InfluANTs” episode

This series, with news episodes airing on Friday nights, is centered on music prodigy Chyna Sparks, played by China Anne McClain. She is only 11 but she’s is in high school in the prestigious Advanced Natural Talents (A. N.T.) program. The series deals with all the social consequences of having to cope with peer pressure and other tween challenges.

In this episode, Chyna and the ANTS must come up with a special project for Black History Month. As Chyna struggles to write a song, she decides to lock herself in a recording booth until she comes up with something great. She winds up falling asleep and taking a dream journey in which she becomes famous African America music icons from the past, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Janet Jackson. When she wakes up, she’s so inspired by the dream that she writes a new version of the Ant Farm theme song, Exceptional. Watch and be inspired by China’s talent and her charm.

 

The Hub Network’s Spooksville Haunted Cave episode

Reminiscent of the popular R.L. Stine Goosebumps, Spooksville, with new shows airing Saturdays, is an eerie series for tweens. It focuses on Adam (Keean Johnson) who has just moved to the not-so-normal town of Springville with his dad, following his mother’s disappearance two years ago.

In this episode, when he is checking in at Lizzie Borden High, Adam happens to see a newspaper clipping featuring a photo of his mother shaking hands with the mayor. He and his friends investigate and are led to a haunted cave where his mom was said to have saved several kids who got trapped there. And what is this place exactly? A warning at the start of the show urges that families watch together because it may be too scary for young children. For all the scary moments, watch and learn that bravery and science and being open-minded are key components.

 

PBS’ Sesame Street Simon Says.” Episode      

The long-running classic show got a nod from the group for a particular episode featuring actor Peter Dinklage, in which he’s Simon and he sings about how everyone has always listened to him and take his advice. They do what “whatever Simon says.”

But the episode’s lesson comes from Telly, who is getting ready to compete in a Simon Says competition. He’s worried, but learns to relax, practice, listen and think. No matter what stress we all face – especially at this time of year, it’s good to remember that relaxing, listening and thinking will serve you well no matter what you age and no matter what the situation.

 

 

Time Shift Your TV – The Short Game

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Kids are capable of doing amazing things. You know that.

But wait until you see these kids.

The Short Game, arriving on Netflix today (Thursday, Dec. 12), is a documentary that premiered at South by Southwest this year, where it won the 2013 Audience Award. It had a limited release in theaters.

The delightful film follows eight kids (five boys, three girls), all of them under age 7, as they train for and compete in the 2012 World Championship of Junior Golf, held in Pinehurst, N.C.

The kids, while being golf phenoms, are still kids – and that’s the joy of watching them. The documentary captures the young athletes and their families through all the joy and frustration of playing a sport on a world class level. Refreshingly, the kids haven’t turned into sports quotes drones, as so many professional athletes are on TV.

One of the kids is Allan Kournikova, tennis star Anna Kourniknova’s little brother. He has a big collection of trophies, which he says, “are just so shiny. And they’re good art.” And there’s Amari Avery, who’s known as “Tigress.” She shares a birthday with Tiger Woods.

Of course, you probably guessed the parents play a part in all of this, too. One “daddy caddy” gives stage moms a run for their money.

With all sorts of lessons to be learned – from the sport, from the parents involved, from what it takes to compete on a world level – along with just being highly entertaining, this doc is a definite hole-in-one.

 

2013 Holiday Give Away Winners Announced

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Phew! We had an overwhelming number of participants in the 2013 Parents’ Choice/Kids Place Live Holiday Give-Away.

After combing through the sleigh-load of answers to “What is your family’s favorite toy that wasn’t designed as a toy?” the winners are:

Tasha Wilkerson is the winner for the 2+ bundle that includes: Hide-n-Go Moo (Learning Resources), Sid the Science Kid: The Movie (NCircle Entertainment) , Stack Up! (Peaceable Kingdom) , Dino Construction Company (Educational Insights) and Playmobil Cargo and Passenger Aircraft and a Toy Dozer (Marchfive LLC).

Amiee Mullikin Bashir is getting the toys and games for ages 4+: Kinetic Sand (WABA Fun), Shelby’s Snack Shack Game (Educational Insights), Sight Word Spy 1 (Delightful Bee), The Magic Path of Yoga (Upside Down Games), R.V. Seeing You Camper (B Toys by Battat) and a Toy Dozer (Marchfive LLC).

And Jill Willmoth is the winner for the 8+ set: The Book of Impossible Objects (Klutz), Laser Maze Beam-Bending Logic Game (Think Fun), Science X CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Ravensburger), littleBits Premium Kit (littleBits Electronics), Motors and Generators (Thames and Kosmos) and yes, a Toy Dozer (Marchfive LLC).

Congratulations to all winners! And a BIG Thank You to all the generous Parents’ Choice Award winning companies for making this give-away possible.

Winners: please message us with your name and mailing address. We’ll ship out the the boxes on Monday, December 9th.

 

All Apologies

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Attention Mark Zuckerberg.

I feel as though I owe you and the whole world an apology.

I confess that I ruined Facebook. Just like the time I “ruined” “someone’s” tween birthday party with a Twilight-themed birthday cake ( THE epitome of parental un-coolness according to some people ).

I ruined Facebook in a clever, multi-faceted evil scheme. First, and most horrifyingly, I joined. I then “friended” everyone I ever knew including my own child.

I began to post cute anecdotes about my family. Even worse, I posted pictures.  I copied those annoying chain mail like status.

And yes, I posted cat videos.

It is nefarious parents like me who are driving teens away from Facebook in droves.  Just to clarify, these same kids haven’t deleted their accounts. They keep them to see what their parents are doing to further embarrass them. They can, however, take some solace in that anyone who is anybody doesn’t really use Facebook anymore. Just uncool parents like me.

These poor, desperate teens have been forced to take refuge in other social media havens such as SnapChat, Ask.fm and Pheed. (Oh yes, I am hip to what you young people like these days) So what’s a poor parent to do? Me? I’m off to take on Twitter. Mwwahhhaaaaaaaa

Laura