Beware the Babyfaced & Brand-Obsessed

DoraFreud.jpgAccording to a researcher at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, IndyMac CEO Michael Perry might have been a particularly persuasive potentate because of his facial appearance:

“He has large eyes, small nose, high forehead and small chin,” said Yuwei Jiang, who is getting his PhD in marketing from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “His babyfacedness might have encouraged customers to see these statements as trustworthy. I believe the innocent face of Mr. Perry played a role here.”

In an increasingly image-obsessed culture, faces are becoming more and more important–even for cartoon characters. Consider kids’ increasing demand for the “real thing” at their birthday parties:

Generic clowns no longer do the trick. Kids want to see at their parties the characters they know and love from TV and movies. But to sustain live-entertainment and theme-park revenues, most companies that own rights won’t offer licensed, authentic costumes that can be worn by professional birthday-party entertainers. That has left parents out of luck. . . . [So] now [companies are] commissioning costumes that only slightly resemble characters owned by media companies. They have names like “Big Red Tickle Monster,” instead of Elmo, and “Explorer Girl with Backpack,” rather than Dora. . . .

[A mother named Miriam] . . . threw a fourth-birthday party for her daughter in May and arranged for a costumed impersonator of Dora the Explorer. Though the walk-about “Dora” had the expected pageboy haircut and backpack, her expression was blank and her legs appeared out of proportion to the rest of her body. “When Dora came out,” [Miriam] says, “none of the kids would go to Dora, including my daughter, and a few of the kids started crying.”

Are these kids brand brats subject to OBD, or sensible consumers? I think the wholesale rejection of Explorer Girl with Backpack is consistent with credulity at cute countenances. Both reflect a society stuck on surfaces, and paying a price for it.

Image Credit: From play about the work Dora: Analysis of a Case of Hysteria.

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