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Season 1 | Episode 4
Aug 11, 2020

Ads are there for a reason — to sell you stuff

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We’ll try to figure out how they do it and how to defend against their powers!

Advertisers have lots of ways of persuading us to buy their stuff. Sometimes you might not even realize it’s happening … until you find yourself riding around town on an ice-cream-making scooter. (Don’t worry, we’ll explain.) This week on the show, we’ll learn how to spot an ad and identify the tricks they use to win you over. And we’ll learn how to defend against them — from our special guest, Captain Kimberly. Plus, this week’s Dollar Scholar shares great ways you can help out in your community.

A comic strip showing host Jed Kim watching a video and thinking about buying the scooter he sees in it. Superhero Captain Kimberly encourages him to think about whether he really needs it.

And now … some tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids.

Money Talks

Take a minute to recap the episode and review the key points. Here are some questions to get the kids going:

  1. What was Jed saving money for before he blew most of it on the ice-cream-making scooter?
  2. Advertisers get your attention in many different ways, and they try to get stuck in our memories so we’ll think of them when it comes time to buy something. Try to think of an advertisement — from television, the internet, a billboard or somewhere else — that got your attention in each of the following ways:
    • Being entertaining or telling a good story
    • Celebrity endorsement
    • Social comparison (making you feel jealous or like you’re missing out on something)
    • Product placement or sponsored content
  3. What are some ways you can resist the persuasive powers of advertisements?

(Click here for the answers)

Tip Jar

Sometimes it’s hard to tell when an ad is an ad, and often they can be really creative and fun. So don’t be too hard on yourself for enjoying ads — just try to maintain healthy objectivity.

The Federal Trade Commission has resources for grown-ups (including some free lesson plans) to help kids learn critical thinking skills and be smarter consumers. The agency encourages kids to ask these three questions:

  • Who’s responsible for the ad?
  • What is the ad actually saying?
  • What does it want you to buy, do or think?

And Common Sense Media has a great video and a variety of tips for teaching children of all ages — preschool, elementary, middle and high school students — about advertising. The organization recommends watching TV, playing video games or using smartphone apps together with kids, then taking some time to point out product placement, logos and “sly calls to buy” contained within each form of media.

Gimme Five

We love hearing from you about your ideas for a currency design. We’d also love to see how they look! All of you artists out there, send us your drawings of those great currency ideas. We may just publish your design on our website!

We want to hear more of your smart questions. What more do you want to know about money? We may just turn your question into another episode of “Million Bazillion”! Click here to get in touch.

Money Talks answers

  1. Repairs to his treehouse
  2. Answers will vary
  3. Answers will vary but include:
    • Identifying an ad when you see/hear one
    • Taking a second to stop and think, do I really need what they’re selling?
    • Sitting back and waiting two weeks before you buy what’s being advertised

(Click here to go back to the questions)

Listening makes you smarter…
Donating makes it all possible

“Million Bazillion” is Marketplace’s first podcast just for kids that answers the awkward, and sometimes surprising questions that they have about money through fun skits and a lot of creativity.

We hope that you and the kids in your life are having some good conversations about money thanks to this podcast – and that you’ll help us continue making it with your donation today.

Support “Million Bazillion” today to keep us going strong.

The team

Jed Kim Host
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Ben Tolliday Sound designer
Sanden Totten Editor
Erica Phillips Writer/Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sitara Nieves Executive Director of On-Demand

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