But this admirable resolve opens up massive opportunities for moral blackmail and pester power in marketing. If you don't know one end of a Mac from the other, a convincing name, a handsome screen and a posh-sounding voice- over can be awfully persuasive, just like Encyclopaedia Britannica was in the days of print.
V-Tech sounds nice. I haven't a clue what V-Tech machines actually do, whether they're useful training for tiny tots, compatible with grown-up kit, recommended by Demos or anything but it's a bit spacey, a bit modern and a bit fun. Fun is part of V-Tech's sell. "It combines learning with fun," it says cheerfully while a variety of muddled pictures of excited child-people cross the screen.
The voice-over is a wonderful period piece, reminiscent of Mr Cholmondeley- Warner reading the advertising script for the Prince of Bombay restaurant just around the corner from the cinema in East Grinstead ("excellent cuisine and good service"). It's got a variety of very delicious, old, print-world conceits of the rhetorical question variety. "Why is V-Tech so different? Is it their quality or the number of features?" or then again "some people would argue" or "could it be?" or "the answer is quite simple; a V-Tech toy is all these things."
This isn't exactly the leading edge of street English, nor parental techno- English, nor even Blairite, on-message, third-way, New Labour English.
This ad is full of muddles and fatal mistakes arising, I suspect, from the partnership of V-Tech, the maker, and Toys 'R' US, the retailer. The commercial looks like off-cuts from a more-considered work, combining different ages and kinds of children - always fatal. It abuts the imagery and logo of V-Tech - modern, middle-class and cool - with the lurid colours of Toys 'R' Us, which say plastic and primary school. And worst of all the voice-over describes the V-Tech thing as a "toy". No snobbish eight year old consorts with five year olds and no self-conscious 10 year olds describes any bit of electronic equipment he uses as a toy.Reuse content