GG/SG Adwatch: Matchbox Boys and Their Toys

Matchbox has taken last year's "Young Drivers" campaign to the next level with these "Young Warriors" ads. They feature kids with access to some awesome and realistic firepower. Click the photo above for an enlargement.

Kids and games of war are nothing new. I played with toy guns all the time to no ill effect. So, I'm not against soldier, cowboy, or cops 'n' robbers games. I think the stereotype that boys gravitate to violent games and aggressive role playing proves true from some deeply rooted evolutionary need. Kids start honing ancient survival skills at a very young age. But, for us, it was mostly a fun, innocent, and fairly naive way to pass the time. (When we were shot dead, we had to count to thirty until we could pop up and fight again.)

But what's with the fatigued, I've-seen-too-much, PTSD looks on these Matchbox kids faces?

Reread Calvin and Hobbes to appreciate the joy a young boy feels in games which emphasize power and destruction. That's the point of war games and superhero fantasies, that weak and powerless kids can envision themselves as strong and powerful. It's fine. Healthy, well-adjusted kids can separate fantasy and reality, whether it's comic books, Three Stooges reruns, or violent video games.

So, what's bringing these boys down? They should be having the time of their lives. What's Matchbox trying to say? Trying to sell?

Does the next campaign take them upriver to the Heart of Darkness?

--Straight Guy


Kathryn said...

Gal's point of view...but maybe these directors have forgotten the very memories you've described. They're making these kids look more like Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Maybe selling Matchbox cars is more serious than we thought.....

Straight Shooter said...

I agree with SG, disturbing imagery for an ad for toys for little kids.

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