“The Logo Board Game”

Somewhere I read that children are able to recognize a huge number of logos even before they learn to read. They can not recognize varieties of wild plants or birds or clouds by name (unless we teach them) but they can distinguish between entertainment companies, fast-food restaurants, cars. Well, this just indicates a lot about our world, and how much we have ceded to the people selling us things, how much knowledge we are losing, what we’ve allowed our priorities to become– let alone how open, for better and for worse, the young human brain really is.

Someone brought a Sunday newspaper yesterday, and this morning I was sorting through it, putting the glossy stuff in recycling, the sports section in the fire-starting basket, and from the pile emerged a John Lewis Christmas catalog. For all my addiction to second-hand I have a kind of dark desire (unfulfilled year after year) for modern white tableware, and thought I’d have a look. And I did, and yes in some other reality I would love Santa to bring me a set of those clean, elegant, stackable bowls.

Flicked through to the children’s pages. Disgusted to find “The Logo Board Game.” “We’re surrounded by logos, ” the text reads. “TV, advertising, even t-shirts. How many logos can you remember? This game tests your knowldege with questions and picture clues. Age 12plus.” There is absolutely no reality in which I want Santa to bring this game into my household. It represents a kind of solopsistic nightmare– how brainwashed are people going to let themselves get??? Actually paying to be advertised to. It’s like inviting a virus to lodge in your brain. If you’ve googled this game, I hope you land on my blog and choose not to buy the thing!

Meanwhile… my daughter’s Y3 choir is rehearsing their Christmas repertoire. There’s a song they are doing celebrating Xmas shopping :

Come on everybody, there’s a whole lot of shopping going on
Gotta get a movin’. there’s a pickin’ and a choosin’ to be done
We’re going crazy! We can’t be lazy!
There’s only days we have left, the rush has begun…

I am just appalled (well, a little bit amused too). If I went and taught that group of kids a song about not shopping, I would be labelled an extremist, and a kill-joy. A friend suggests I complain– his recommendation was on the grounds of the credit crunch and how many pupils’ families can ill-afford holiday excess– but I’m always complaining– about the parking on the pedestrian path, about the junk food. Of course I’m sure there is a world of Christians who loathe the commercialism of it all. But I can’t argue from that place; my worries relate to how consumerism is going to be the death of us all. Yet I am tempted to let this one go, not to complain. Would you?


4 Responses to ““The Logo Board Game””

  1. Penny Walker Says:

    Yes, we saw the logo board game too! As daughter #2 sat there going through the catalogue (and the one with the battling grannies and the electronic sudoku) marking just about everything as “I want that”, we agreed that she should never be allowed to have a credit card.

    What also saddens me about this, is how much talent and ambition, how many people’s hopes and dreams of a glittering career, have been diverted down this blind alley. I wonder if they’re proud of their work, or secretly sickened by it?

    Not sure about the christmas shopping song. How effective would complaining be? What about suggesting a lovely attractive alternative song that celebrates just being in the great outdoors in wintry weather – Walking in a Winter Wonderland? Let it snow?



  2. Keith Farnish Says:

    Enjoy the music at: http://www.westbyfleetjunior.org.uk/_includes/podcasts/46/Rock%20around%20the%20Shops.mp3

    Maybe it’s an ironic take on the brainwashed consumer mentality, and is supposed to inject a level of scepticism into young minds before they become old enough to control the family finances.

    Alternatively, maybe it’s just a crap song from a lazy writer who has become unhinged.

  3. John Mariani Says:

    Hello, my name is John Mariani and I am one of the inventors of the LOGO game.I was previously the editor of Trivial Pursuit and felt that the general public would like a game where logos and products without their packaging are identified and where the trivial questions concentrate on all those things we have grown up with such as ‘Do you know which colour Smartie has a different flavoured chocolate to all the other colours?’ and can you name the following brands which are named after birds : chocolate biscuit? shoe polish? toilet cleaner? cider? margarine? etc etc
    Please believe me it is light hearted fun with quite a few interesting facts. It would be a shame for you to be so negative about it when you have not had a go. I think you and your family would like it.
    I must add that I do like your style of writing….It is clever, funny and enjoyable even though you were nasty about my game.
    I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. I unfortunately will not be able to play the game since I know all the answers!
    Best wishes John Marriani

  4. jaya Says:

    “the products we are marketing will transform you
    Into someone of quality and style
    You’ll be the number-one attraction
    And everyone will envy your mysterious superior smile
    ‘Cause we’re making you a very special offer of tomorrow
    In delicate pastel shades
    Have a jar of instant happiness, a bottleful of glamor,
    An amazing value dream that never fades
    We’ve got tubes of tranquility, boxes of virility
    Packets of the simple life that used to be
    Eternal youth at bargain price, a one-way trip to Paradise
    Or why not buy a giant pack of Purity
    Here’s a free gift sample of the art of gracious living
    There’s nothing that we can’t provide
    And what it all adds up to is super satisfaction
    Though we hope you won’t be satisfied

    Because we’ve got:
    fruit machines, magazines, baked beans, submarines
    handcuffs, face creams, pep pills and private dreams
    synthetic fibres, tranquilizers, inorganic fertilizers
    canned beer, barbed wire, dividends at five points higher
    Mars bars, fast cars, Jesus Christ as Superstars
    life insurance, cigarettes, package tours and Sabre jets…

    Leon Rosselson – from ‘We Sell Everything’

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