How to Talk to Kids About Working in Advertising?

How to Talk to Kids About Working in Advertising?
Photo by Derek Thomson / Unsplash

Let’s get real, outside of our marketing bubble, real humans especially the small ones, don’t think highly about our careers in advertising, as much as we like to think they do.

For most people, advertising is the annoying interruption during their favorite YouTube workout at the worst moment. It’s the banner that keeps popping up when they browse the internet to convince them to buy what they have already purchased. Or the much-needed live TV sports interruption that helps them refill drinks without missing the action. Advertising is not essential for adults, so how do you tell your son that you work in advertising.

Kids dream big. They want to become firefighters, doctors, or space travelers. Very rarely do they imagine working in advertising.

How to spark passion?

My 5-year-old son was initially super excited, knowing daddy works for M&M’s candies. Immediately disappointments hit him fast when he discovered I am not Willy Wonka and didn’t work in the dream-like chocolate factory. I don’t even drive my car to deliver fresh chocolate to our local supermarket all day. Working in advertising – from home for an entire year revealed my real job to him.

Yes, son, daddy is working in advertising. Every day, daddy talks with many people on Zoom about the annoying videos you discovered how to skip on YouTube when you were three. But instead of making them shorter so you can watch more Paw Patrol, daddy finds innovative ways to make viewers watch one more second, attract them with a new candy offer or land a funny new joke. He does this, hoping that people will remember that candy brand one day when they will have to go to the store to buy it.

Yes, daddy is not baking the real m&m’s, but he helps you discover the new flavor you don’t know you wanted: custard m&m’s, anyone? Daddy understands what they want by talking to lots of people, showing them lots of candy, and asking them questions. That way, daddy is telling the factory to make more Yellow m&m’s instead of Brown m&m’s because he knows better what most people like.

And lastly, daddy promotes candy to be more popular so that all people will choose m&m’s over another chocolate. This way, daddy helps the families of the m&m’s factory colleagues, the chocolate delivery drivers, and all others he interacts with to have a more secure future.

How do you talk to your kids about working in Advertising?