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Know Your Audience — Even If It’s a Little Bit Gross
By: Cindy Wendland
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As the full weight of the shopping season is upon us, advertisers vie for our attention with commercials of products we may wish to give as gifts (or put on our wish list). One of the most interesting products being advertised this season is Gooey Louie. Their tagline is “Put Your Finger in His Nose…and Pick a Winner!”

Most children love gross things. Most children need to be taught the lesson about not picking their noses. But face it; slimy things, stretchy things, gross things make children giggle. If it appears the game will be fun for children, people will buy it. The toy market is a lucrative market. The games and puzzles portion of the U.S. toy market is nearly $2 billion. (Couldn’t find a sales figure for the gross segment of the toy market.)

Gooey Louie is made by Goliath Toys, a European toy and game manufacturer. Europeans are traditionally more comfortable and relaxed with their bodies than Americans, and in this case it is extending to toys. Goliath Toys offers products that teach young children skills — such as hand-eye coordination, sharing, and taking turns — while offering them games that keep their interest.

Where do we draw the line? When have we gone too far? If we can teach children an important lesson, “Don’t pick your nose, or anyone else’s, except in the game,” and children have fun, giggle, and make good memories, then maybe it’s not too far. If marketers really deliver what people want, and children like silly things, then maybe it is a teaching opportunity while children have fun playing a game. Isn’t that what games are supposed to be about? Gooey Louie is definitely gross, but Gooey Louie makes children giggle.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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