Thursday, October 25, 2012

Exporting Halloween

Gakuen Alice ©2003-2012 Tachibana Higuchi/Hakusensha

There's an interesting, timely, article by Brian Ashcraft on Kotaku today about the sudden rise of Halloween as a "thing" in no small part as a result of efforts by Disney and Universal Studios to introduce/market it to Japanese children and audiences more generally. Here's an excerpt:
The two things that have really made Halloween in Japan are Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan. And they've done this in the last decade. Tokyo Disneyland held its first Halloween event in 2000, and each year it's gotten bigger and bigger. Ditto for Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
Prior to this, Halloween in Japan used to only mean foreigners wearing funny customs in bars and drinking on public transportation. But Tokyo Disneyland and USJ provided an easy way for Japanese people to enjoy Halloween.
[...]There isn't widespread trick-or-treating (and where there is, it can be highly organized), but more and more kids are going to Halloween parties and dressing up. Then there's an increasing amount of merchandising, which ranges from small pumpkins (normal sized ones are incredibly expensive), cakes, cookies, ice cream, and more. You now see Halloween decorations in stores and even on some TV shows—things that you never saw a decade ago.
Be sure to read the rest of the (short) article here.  A fascinating example of globalization at work, as well as the interest the children's industries have in spreading consumption-focused holidays as a revenue source. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FYI - Lego Friends Project

In follow up to this week's class, I wonder if any of you might be interested in checking out one of my recent conference presentations on the "Lego for girls" product line. It includes a bit of the history of Lego's transformation from gender-inclusive to gendered toy and a quote from the marketing guru I mentioned in lecture. Enjoy!

The $$ Cost of Adventure

Caption C+P from Cox's article: "Big Chief school tablet, 
39 cents in 1964 ($2.88 adjusted). Illustration by Louise Fitzhugh."
Via your classmate Sara V-S, a thought provoking article on the "The Cost of Being a Kid In A Classic Adventure Novel," written by Brent Cox for The Awl, wherein classic kids' lit tropes are monetized and class issues are highlighted. Here's an excerpt:
A Bridge To Terabithia is a harrowing story of the adventure gone wrong, or, more accurately, cruelly cut short, but it's also a document of a certain sociological shift that occurred during the 70s. Jess' father is a laborer. At the beginning of the book, he's driving back and forth to D.C. every day, as there are no jobs nearer to home. And the Aaronses are hard-pressed for cash. For a back-to-school shopping trip, the mother can only (grudgingly) part with five dollars for the two big sisters to shop for back to school supplies (which would be $18.90 now). Christmas is not a lavish affair for the Aarons. They are solidly working class.
Thanks Sara!!!