Mario Bros Lego’s tactics are plumbing new depths
Is the way we advertise toys to children going too far? Or maybe it has always gone too far but is steadily worsening by each passing year? Lego and Nintendo have teamed up to create an electronic Mario, the iconic red and blue plumber, now produced in Lego brick beauty.
But unlike the indifferent faces of a typical Lego toy, Mario’s eyes and mouth have been digitally rendered, allowing him to show emotion and chat to your child. It seems the perfect blend of Lego and video game.
However, there is something rather disturbing about this toy. This electronic makeover also comes with another feature. It can receive updates beamed to the toy and directly to your child with the latest being Mario woefully crying out that his famous brother Luigi is ‘missing’.
Lego is planning a new range of the Super Mario expansion sets this summer, including Luigi figurines. So yes, this toy is unashamedly advertising and upselling a new product directly to your child away from parents’ prying eyes.
Children should not be targets to be exploited by a company’s greedy whims. Yet here we are, with toys sneakily talking to your children that does nothing more than persuade them to cajole their parents that they must have Luigi. Such poor taste to project this during playtime, where they should be free from the bombardment of advertisements.
Children have the right to be children. We should be very wary and acknowledge this is a pretty messed up toy promotion.
Kids develop deep bonds with their toys and are highly impressionable. Children develop a huge connection to things we may only consider plastic playthings. But the feelings they project onto their toys are very high, some may even consider their toys to be alive. Just imagine if you were a child who loved and adored your Lego Mario toy when suddenly, it starts calling out desperately for its lost brother. How would you feel? It is downright despicable to do this to a child.
There is nothing more interactive than a children’s imagination at the end of the day. We cannot allow companies to continuously exploit them like this all for the sake of leveraging a product onto some of our most vulnerable consumers.