Mom of one, wife, writer, former flack. Cultural observer, book devourer, news junkie, non-sucky music lover, celebrity watcher, social media time-waster, junk food eater. I live inside the Beltway, but don’t hold it against me. Read about my parenting adventures at!

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The Worst Kids’ Commercials

How many times has this happened to you?  You’re watching television with your child, enjoying one of the few moments in the day when you can let your brain go all fuzzy and unfocused like a Magic Eye picture. Suddenly, you’re jolted out of your blissful stupor, thanks to some God-awful commercial targeted to the sippy cup set.

There’s a reason TiVo was invented, folks, and it sure wasn’t so you could watch reruns of Overhaulin’ ad nauseum.  No, the inventors of the DVR were driven by a more noble purpose, one inspired by every eye-rolling parent who’s ever endured a kid whining for worthless crap.  Their goal: to render commercials irrelevant.

Consequently, I practice the art of fast-forward at every chance I get. Unfortunately, usually my son will refuse every single one of the 75 different shows I’ve taped for him to watch, opting instead for real-time TV because the one program that he’s never seen before happens to be playing at Just That Moment.

Which means unfettered access to dumb commercials.  Which is how we get to the scenario described above.

Some kids’ commercials are admittedly less stupid than others – for example, I’ve always yearned to know the hip dad who runs after his freshly-diapered kid in a beautiful park overlooking the ocean (southern California, no doubt).  But let’s face it: most of these ads are horribly-written, wretched things that make you want to throw a corn cob at the TV.

What are some of the worst, you ask?  I’ll happily oblige …

Pillow Pets

The person who created this commercial clearly graduated from the School of Shameful Jingle-Writing. “It’s a pillow… It’s a pet!  It’s a Pillow Pet!” As an additional slap to the face, the tune gets lodged in your brain and it’s nearly impossible to shake out. I dislike this ad so strongly because it’s the only one that actually worked on my son.  He told me he wanted a pillow pet and I promptly marched him over to our 21-pound cat: “Looky here!  A pillow pet of your very own!  And it’s ALIVE!”

Your Baby Can Read

Of all the crummy kid-related commercials, I loathe this one the most:

Your Baby Can Read Commercial VideoWatch today’s top amazing videos here

Why?  Because all it takes is one reference to “seizing the small window of opportunity of accelerated learning in the first few years of life” and this wicked company knows you’re sold.  Some evil marketing genius knowingly took advantage of the anxiety and paranoia that grips all first-time parents: “Am I doing all I can to make my child the very best person s/he can be?”  Fortunately, my loathing for the smug, Barbie-like mom who brags up her kid Brandon overshadowed my impulse to pull out my credit card.

Chuck E. Cheese

Ugh.   There is so much going on here visually that I feel like I’m pushing my luck every time I manage to watch this commercial without having a seizure.  To add insult to injury, that over-synthesized voice that sings, over and over, “It’s mah parTAYYYYY!” drives me nuts.  And when did Chuck E. Cheese become so creepy?

Live Butterfly Garden

This commercial looks innocent at first, but watch it long enough and you’ll soon see the problem: it fails to acknowledge that no normal preschooler would be able to play with a bunch of live caterpillars without caving to his impulse to squash them and spread their guts across the mesh of the butterfly screen.

As any weary parent will tell you, this list is by no means exhaustive.  It’s just a cruel fact of life that bad kids’ commercials exist in this world (and oh, how very many there are).

What do you think?  Which kids’ commercials bug you the most?

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Comments (3)

  1. Caleb 01/23/2011 at 9:51 am

    My two greatest enemies are the Kidz Bop commercials and Chuck E. Cheese commercials.
    Kidz Bop, in my opinion, only adds to the problem of kids maturing way too quickly in the media. It covers various songs and many include obvious sexual references and innuendos.
    Chuck E. Cheese commercials are without a doubt some of the most annoying and sickening commercials I’ve ever seen. From the cheesy (no pun intended!) voice for Chuck, to the kids who really don’t want to be on TV. I’ve even noticed bad editing before, when the kids are chanting “Chuck E!”, it repeated several times, but the kids only said it once. The result was a record-skipping sound that admittedly made me laugh out loud, but for all the wrong reasons!

  2. Bethanyhardy 06/11/2010 at 2:18 am

    I had a friend (yes, a guy) who loved that show. That was my secret shout out to him. 🙂

  3. erinoltmanns 06/08/2010 at 11:12 am

    Love the “Overhaulin” reference!