Nov 24, 2012

Vietnam - Firms cynically exploit commendations to target pre-schoolers

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VietNamNet Bridge – Firms are targeting pre-school kids as part of their marketing campaigns by sponsoring traditional commendation certificates for good behaviour.

Mrs. Xuan from Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District was surprised when her two-year-old daughter asked to eat Mikochi instant noodles. At first she thought it was the effect of seeing advertising on TV, or that her daughter was wanting to copy her friends.

However, after talking to her child, she found out that the school where her daughter is studying issue commendations for well behaved children which promote Mikochi instant noodles. The daughter misunderstood that eating such noodles would mean she received a commendation.

Mrs. Trang who has a children studying at the same school as Xuan’s child experienced a similar misunderstanding.
Her two year-old son insisted on eating Mikochi instant noodles to get the commendation. The little boy assumed the same system applied to other promotional programmes, such as buying Poca snacks which offered cards depicting famous footballers.

Mai Anh, from Ba Dinh District’s Ngoc Ha Street, said her son had recently wanted to buy school equipment from the Truong Viet Company after its logo was included in commendations praising obedient children at school.

“I can’t understand why the school accept including the company’s name and logo on the commendation, it’s lost its traditional meaning, as it’s been converted into an advert,” Mai Anh complained.

Mrs. Anh’s child recently expressed a preference for Ong Chua milk.

“My child has rickets and has to use special milk under prescription. However, she refuses to drink any other milk but Ong Chua, as she thought she’d get a commendation for doing so. This is improper advertising,” Anh said.

Traditionally, such commendations are given to children who have been well behaved.

Associate Prof and Dr Trinh Hoa Binh, Director of the Institute of Sociology’s Centre for Public Market Research said, “The phenomenon underscores some inappropriate forms of advertising, it’s not acceptable to target pre-school children, and academic or behavioural commendations should be advert-free.”


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