Monday, September 21, 2009

Checking for children?

The other day I received one of those junk-mail envelopes in the mail that has lots of different ads, more or less focusing on my area. They occasionally have a coupon or two I can use, or can save with the intent to use, so as usual I flipped through all of the ads.

While I don't need to buy any checks right now, the illustrations in the ad from a company that sells checks caught my eye. What caught it were child-friendly designs that took up most of the first and second pages, and a lot of the third. The first page was awash with checks featuring Disney characters -- Pooh and friends; Disney princesses (the ensemble phrase now used for Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, the Beauty with or without the Beast, maybe Sleeping Beauty and the little Mermaid -- I'm not sure;) Mickey and friends, etc; also from whoever produced Daffy Duck and friends; also, for some reason, the Ratatouille rat (I thought that movie hadn't been a very big hit); Betty Boop; and I forget all the others. The other pages were heavy on cutesy little girls, angels, cherubs, etc.

My immediate reaction was to wonder just how many children (mostly, girls) have checking accounts. I must have been avoiding doing some sort of work at home as I kept staring at the illustrations, which showed one design per set on a simulated check, complete with printed name and address. What caught my attention next was that all of the checks in the flyer had the same name, something like George and Mary Smith.

This led, of course, to musings on George pulling out his checkbook to pay for a round of beers with his buddies, and there, for all to see, is a wonderful illustration of one of the Disney princesses on his check. Hmmmmmmm.

I looked through all the sample designs to see what was most macho, and found very few: some Harleys (lots of women ride them too); some macho kids designs (Transformers, Spiderman, Batman); and some rustic outhouses. Maybe there were a few with US flags, US military insignia, and bald eagles, but for the most part, things vaguely male in orientation were vastly outnumbered by all the girlish ones.

I've been mulling over the ad ever since I saw it -- and have meanwhile seen shorter ones in other mailers and in the Sunday advertising supplements, and they, too, all seem rather heavy on princesses, etc. Do men buy these designs? Do they use these designs if purchased by the female half of the printed name? Do these companies know what they are doing? Since I feel vaguely through the looking glass, shouldn't there be checks with Alice in Wonderland?

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