For a long time now, sneakers have been so much more than just sports shoes. And the fashion industry's marketing no longer appeals only to adults, but also to teenagers and children. Surveys by several media companies show that children’s brand awareness increases as they grow older and is highest when it comes to sneakers.

Where does the money go when we buy new sneakers?

Why not take a closer look with your child and find out where your salary or their pocket money goes when we buy some new shoes? The costs for a shoe that retails at CHF 120 break down as follows.

Südwind, Institut für Ökonomie und Ökumene

The example illustrates how most of our money goes to the company that owns the brand, as well as to the retailer. So if a major sports star wears our favorite shoe, this directly affects the price, as the company pays them to wear the shoe.

Shoes without a recognizable brand are not necessarily worse, but the marketing costs are lower. Talk to your child about how these mechanisms work so that they understand why companies advertise their products and how this impacts the end price and makes us want to buy a product.

Is there any benefit to a brand?

We would probably all rather buy a drill from a well-known brand. Certain brands mean quality and a product that will last. We pay more but get a high-quality product in return. In this case, spending more money makes sense. Explain to your child why you look for a particular brand for certain products and where the “pain barrier” is when it comes to price.

Talking to children about advertising and marketing

Whether as a direct or indirect target group, children and young adults are confronted with countless advertising messages every day. Rather than just abandoning them to these advertising messages, take time now and then to discuss the messaging critically with them by considering specific examples. This will help children and young people to set their own priorities and boundaries. Questions that you can discuss with your child include:

What does the ideal life look like in advertisements and how does it make us feel?

What role models (man, woman, boy, girl) are being communicated?

What body image is celebrated in advertising and how does it affect us?

Where exactly do we encounter advertising? Where does advertising tend to be concealed and where is it totally obvious?

Also talk to your child about which social platforms shape their everyday experience. Many advertising messages – including hidden messages – reach young people via digital media.

The main points in a nutshell:

  • Marketing has a massive influence on children and young people. Talk about the mechanisms behind advertising.
  • Talk to children and young people (from 3rd grade) about how clothing or shoe prices are calculated.
  • Explain why you care about the brand when it comes to some products, but not others.

UBS’s educational principles

This article was written in collaboration with educator Marianne Heller, who has years of experience in teaching financial education and debt prevention programs for children and young people.

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