Is MARKETING TO CHILDREN ethical? We deep dive into Halloween III: Season of the Witch to find out! It’s only a few more days to HALLOWEEN. Comment your thoughts and opinions!
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Season of the Witch (1982) explores hypnotic marketing tactics that lure children into the deadliest Halloween trick of all time. And although this sci-fi horror mystery is clearly fiction, it’s a scarily accurate representation of the power of corporate manipulation. It’s also the only film in the franchise that DOES NOT feature Michael Myers. Penned as a standalone story in a separate universe from the John Carpenter classic, Halloween 3 follows Doctor Daniel Challis as he investigates a shady corporation called Silver Shamrock, run by an elderly CEO who controls men in black and commands them to murder those who know too much.
Halloween is the one time of the year where myths and legends of old pagan traditions are celebrated as consumers favor superstition over science and spend over 9 billion dollars on everything from candy to costumes. And while the cash pours into the pockets of corporate CEO’s, you’re likely to believe that they pose no threat to consumers, right? Well, we’d like to think so. But what would happen if these billion-dollar head honchos didn’t care about money, but instead, human sacrifice?
The sci-fi horror movie explores marketing to children through corporate advertising of Halloween masks. This showcases how far marketing will go especially with the inclusion of the men in black (androids). They’re led by a CEO and ex-toymaker warlock who carries on the Celtic tradition of sacrificing every child who purchases their Halloween mask. Each Silver Shamrock Mask is equipped with a computer chip hidden beneath their metal tags, along with a piece of stolen stone hedge. Once these masks are triggered, the results are explosive. Michael Meyers would be proud.
Silver Shamrock is similar to Kellog’s or Mcdonald’s, companies which spend billions in marketing directly marketing to children.Is it right for corporations to influence such a young demographic? When does targeted advertising go too far?
In a 1994 New York Times article, Scientists at the Philip Morris Cigarette Company found evidence 11 years prior that a substance in cigarettes was as addictive as nicotine. When this research was discovered, it was halted by the company, and as a result, their lab was shut down. This sleazy move exhibits just how far companies will go to protect their products, even if they know they aren’t safe. Although cigarettes aren’t currently marketed directly to children, as they have in the past, other potentially harmful products are.
Kool-aid, Froot Loops, and Coca Cola three products are liquid crack marketed to children. Just like the silver shamrock commercials, their product advertising is often deceiving and hypnotic. Vivid colors, zany characters, and the promise of how awesome you’ll be if you decide to consume.
Marketing tactics aside, consuming these products in moderation is OK. Childhood would be depressing and horror-filled with only vegetables to eat. Aend of the day, these companies are still marketing liquid crack to children WHICH begs the question, is marketing unsafe or unhealthy products to children using deceptively hypnotic techniques ethical? We say NO. If corporations know that their product is unsafe or unhealthy, they shouldn’t be advertising them to the young and impressionable in a manipulative manne regardless if in a sci-fi film or not.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the ultimate scary scenario of what happens when corporate manipulation goes too far. Is mass corporate sacrifice by an evil warlock likely to happen? No. Not really. But it can. And that’s enough for us to be on edge.
What do you think? Should there be limitations on advertising campaigns? And marketing to children in particular? Have you ever seen an unethical commercial? Do you believe it’s NOT the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure that their product are up to standards? Let us know in the comments below, click subscribe if you’d like, and have a happy Halloween!
Space Taste aims to be the premier destination for intelligent and thoughtful discussion in the world of sci-fi. Subscribe to Space Taste to watch an ethical and philosophical breakdown of sci-fi films every week. We explore not only the ethics and repercussions of our favorite science fiction movies, but also how the concepts covered in the movie would impact society.