Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Food for thought

I was amazed last night to find myself watching an ad on TV for a kids’ vitamin supplement that helps make them smarter!

Double take…sorry…what was that?

Apparently, ‘this is the solution that parents have been waiting for’…aside from ending in a preposition, this is an outlandish statement.

As a parent, I can quite confidently say I have been waiting for many things…eight consecutive hours of sleep; manners without prompting; a large windfall; a supermodel makeover, all a definite maybe; but a chewable pill that purports to make my daughter smarter at an exorbitant price, not really.

But what got me was the tagline right at the very end…NAPLAN starts 14th May.

What the?

For those blissfully unaware, NAPLAN is Australia’s annual national literacy and numeracy testing regime for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN does not come without its own controversy and critics.

But this all pales into insignificance now.

No longer will we need to wave the big stick at teachers who have underperforming students in their class and it is clearly their fault.

No longer will we need to bribe, I mean support and encourage, teachers with bonus pay schemes.

No longer will we need to get parents and students to rate their teachers in an open and honest fashion...

But I digress…apparently, research shows that these supplements may help with brain function, learning and behaviour*, all according to this product’s website. I also believe there may be research, somewhere, by someone, that says that it may help with naivetĂ© as well.

May…note the modality used here. They are only saying it may help…not that it will…maybe if you were standing on your head (to assist with greater blood flow to the cranium) in an oxygen bar (to assist with richer blood flow to the cranium) with stimulating electrodes placed around the skull at various intervals whilst chewing these chewable supplements…you too may be able to assist your brain function.

But what I truly loved was the ever-present asterisk leading to the small print.

*Galaxy Research sponsored by Pharmacare

Pharmacare laboratories’ – sounds impressively reputable. Sounds like a scientific based organisation who cares. But wait there’s more…a little further investigation reveals that Pharmacare labs are actually the producers of a plethora of health care products including, no less, than this very same Kids Smart vitamin supplement range.

Hmmm, you have to wonder about that, don’t you?

A little further research and I discovered that the Kids Smart range is actually an awarded range of products. Choice awarded the range a Shonky Award in 2012. Well done, guys!

You've got to give them 10 points for trying I suppose, but how stupid do they honestly think parents are? Maybe they are in need of some of their own medicine!

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