Abhorrent London Theme Park ‘KidZania’ Wants to Turn Your Kids into Careerists
A brand new theme park has opened in London, but instead of offering the typical array of rollercoaster rides and other such fun activities, it instead serves as a vehicle to pummel your children with named brands whilst giving them a taste of life as both consumerist and consumer, with the park’s marketing even referring to its young visitors as the “customers of the future.”
KidZania, the all-too-wacky name for what is actually a dystopian fictional city in which children are taught the value of working for and buying from brands such as Bank of England, Renault and H&M, with its own economy that allows for the acquisition of pretend currency, that is distributed on pretend credit cards that can then be used to open up saving accounts. Presumably the next step is to introduce pretend housing, in which the children must pay through the nose for rented accommodation that they can barely afford thanks to the previous generations having fucked up their career prospects.
While the park itself is alluring to look at it with all of its bright colours and shiny objects, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is the “educational tool” it’s being billed as, rather than an attempt for named brands to penetrate your children’s consciousness in their formative years.
It’s certainly important for children to understand the value of money and hard work, but surely that can be achieved with help from their parents rather than under the watchful gaze of Bank of England? Predictably, adults are restricted to certain areas, which is where KidZania likely hooks them up to a machine not dissimilar to the one used to brainwash Alex in Clockwork Orange, with them being shown endless images of Renault vehicles and H&M polo shirts.
If you need further convincing that this is an awful idea concocted in the minds of awful people, and that the educational benefits of it teaching your kids about adult responsibilities are negligible when compared to the careerist ideology it’s promoting, get a load of its message to potential partners who wish to have their brand featured on KidZania’s dedicated radio station, which broadcasts live throughout the theme park for the duration of the kids’ visit:
“As the UK’s only children’s radio station, who better to be the official radio station at KidZania – the UK’s first child-sized city! Located in Westfield London (across 75,000ft) and with 1 million children forecast to visit in 2015, Fun Kids (they have since instead partnered with Capital FM) will be at the heart of this unique experience with a real life radio station run by children and broadcasting live across the entire city. With on air messaging, themed activity and sampling opportunities, this is a fantastic way for your brand to reach and create an in-depth relationship with children and their families.
“This is a truly innovative way to build your brand, reaching 1 million children across the year (plus their extended families) with activities that will create an in-depth relationship. It is also a fantastic platform for your brand’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.”
Now I get that blocking your children from all forms of advertising is impossible, but a theme park built upon the foundations of marketing brands to your kids, then asking them to work for/purchase items from fictional representations of these brands, with the park’s dedicated radio station then beaming corporate messages directly into their ears (kids can also be tasked with “creating a jingle” for a partnered brand, according to the park’s marketing material), is fucking abhorrent and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.
KidZania may look like a friendly and welcoming place to take your kids that will provide them with a unique and interesting experience, but make no mistake, this is a theme park that literally runs on shilling corporate, sponsored messages to your children, that isn’t so much concerned with educating them as it teaching them the value of consumerism and convincing them that corporations are their friends.