The upcoming school year is upon us and once again, kids are preparing to go back to school. Many necessities will be required in order for kids to maintain throughout the school year. Supplies such as pencils, pens, binders and clothes will all need to be acquired to enhance the back to school experience. The biggest question that parents have this year will be, “Where do I shop for back-to-school supplies?”
If you’ve been watching TV for the past couple of months you may have seen numerous back to school commercials vying for parent’s attention. Target stores released their commercial which showed two Caucasian kids doing a science project and preparing for a year full of learning. Flip the channel on the remote and you might run across a different kind of back to school commercial such as the display by Kmart. Kmart’s back to school campaign for the new school year has a different aspect and twist to it. It showcases Da Rich Kidzz, who are pint-size rappers, rapping “My Limo” and features another commercial where kids are telling “Yo Momma” jokes to one another about fashion and low prices. Sure everyone loves low prices, however; why did Kmart make a hip hop fashion commercial instead of an educational one? There are two different ways to analyze this commercial as to who the target audience is. One could say that Kmart is doing a great job at marketing for the new age. After all, the commercial has an urban upbeat tempo which is a big trend now, however; one could also argue that Kmart may be showing a sense of racism. Kmart may be saying that all low income and urban communities worry about fashion instead of learning. As I mentioned earlier, Kmart’s competitors Target, released a commercial with a learning aspect. The mood was centered around creativeness as well as moving ahead educationally. Placing these two commercials side by side in comparison would be unjust.
The other angle of the commercial by Kmart is that it may just be really, really good marketing. Being an African American male I can honestly say that the Kmart commercial caught my attention more than that of Target. My attention was based on the concept Kmart chose in efforts to reach urban communities. My previous thoughts of racism where erased by a wake-up call. I sat and thought about both black and white parents, and what they talk about when their child’s new school year is going to start. The white parents I know all spoke on how they needed to obtain items such as calculators, binders, dividers and other means of technology based education equipment. However the same cannot be said when it comes to the majority of black parents I know. Their back to school checklists included things such as fashionable shoes, shirts, backpacks and other add-on accessories. The mention of school supplies such as books, binders and pens where at the bottom of their lists. I found it less difficult to recant my anger toward the Kmart back to school commercial after realizing one thing; Kmart may have just been telling the truth.
I believe that many people are guilty of placing materialistic items over education, however I believe it is a true epidemic within the urban community. I believe that we, including myself, have all been guilty of placing fashion before education. Fashionable objects such as the latest shoes, newest cell phones and hottest music are held as first priorities among low income communities. I believe this isn’t a problem that has just occurred; this is something that has been passed down for generations. New materialistic items are always consumed in mass quantities in the urban community; it’s a form of progress and wealth. However; upper middle class and rich neighborhoods base their wealth on knowledge. College educations and achievements are placed on higher pedi-stools than $100,000 in cash and a new car on some big rims. While I have different aspirations in life now, I do remember being guilty of not seeing the big picture, not seeing that education talks and everything else walks!