It's times like these I sure wish I was a better or more experienced writer. That I could dig deep and write a shining gem of cutting wit. Because, when I first saw this ad, I was appalled. Then, I was flooded with other emotions-of disgust, sadness, disappointment. I wish I had it in me to write biting sentences that would convey to my readers how sickened I am by this commercial.
Now, I'm not saying that kids automatically would have been excited to "Meet The Trees"-I've done enough outdoor and environmental education myself to know that toys are more exciting than trees, at least on the surface. But we'll never know, will we, because "Brad" is not (I strongly presume) an environmental educator. No-he's some shill for Toys R Us, duping kids into being excited about...wait for it...free toys. Are you kidding me? This is clever? That's like taking a bunch of kids on a tour of Willy Wonka's - sure they're going to be excited about all the free candy but it's not sustainable. It's fun for an afternoon, but ultimately it leaves you bloated and no better off.
To me, this ad is everything that is wrong with our consumerism society (our country in particular), our connection to the natural world around us (or lack thereof) and our cynicism about it all. Whoever was responsible for this ad campaign has obviously never spent an afternoon in the company of the amazing environmental educators that work tirelessly to impart some sense of wonder for all that nature gives us. But, let's face it, there's no money in taking a walk through the forest or enjoying clean air and clean water, so let's just make fun of it, shall we? Let's all jump in a bus and drive off to the nearest toy store where we can buy cheap plastic junk that's going to break after 2 days. That'll make "every wish come true."
I'm not saying every kid shouldn't get a new toy. I'm sure some of the kids on that bus will remember that trip for the rest of their lives. And, probably remember it fondly. But, you know what else they would probably remember? That time that Mom and Dad took them to the local park and played with them all day.
Ugh...I don't know. Maybe I'm overreacting to this commercial. Maybe it's that I grew up with the woods as my playground and I'm thankful for it. Maybe it's that I've spent my entire adult life trying to instill an environmental ethic in everyone around me so that those same kids will have clean air and water to grow up in, too. Maybe it's that I've actually seen (on more occasions than I can count) the sense of awe and wonder and excitement that comes from kids being in the outdoors. Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical myself. I hope not. I have no biting wit with which to finish. I just want to say: I think there's a better world than the one portrayed in this commercial. I'm going to keep fighting for it. I hope you will, too.