(Image copyright ALDI)
The Aldi ‘Young Hearts’ Collection for 2016 drops tomorrow.
It’s a whimsical and carefree collection with splashes of colour. It somehow manages both fluid lines and structure. The quality of the fabric is high. And this year – the range includes clothing for BOYS. You can now dress your precious possums of both genders in a Collette Dinnigan designed and Chinese made ensemble.
Don’t get me wrong, the designs are fabulous and well thought out. The collection neatly fills the gap between Target and David Jones for kids clothing. The Young Hearts 2016 collection is lovely. While packing my groceries, I reached for the catalogue, initially thinking I would let my children choose one item each.
After thumbing through the first few pages, I realised – I can’t show this catalogue to my children. My children who have beautiful brown skin and black coily curls. Particularly my daughter who is 4 and who notices EVERYTHING. I mean everything. We can’t throw a tissue in the bin without her interrogating its contents. If we glance the wrong way, she asks why. If one of us leaves somewhere without giving her a full briefing, she needs to know where, our ETA and the method of transportation.
I couldn’t show her this Young Hearts campaign which looks like it is from a stereotype of a Scandinavian country. I couldn’t show her its one attempt at inclusion which is laughable and tokenistic.
She would look at the pictures and she would just KNOW. She would know she wasn’t invited to play with these kids. She wasn’t allowed on the bike. On the pier. On the white couch. She would know she was not allowed entry to the beach house. And that she was not allowed (by her mother) to wear a two piece triangle bikini available from size 0 (hello?!).
So I get it okay. It’s a beach thing. It’s how Australians think they look at the seaside. On their holidays. And it’s possibly meant to be an ‘aspirational’ casting choice for those who aren’t part of this representation.
Well news flash. It’s not accurate and it’s not aspirational.
I recognise that much of the advertising in Australia is not diversified and that entire market segments are ignored. I’ve discussed that elsewhere. But what’s startling about the Aldi Young Hearts campaign is the sheer monotonous nature of it. It’s a deliberate and carefully considered choice.
Yes, it’s a choice. It’s business. Marketing execs have chosen the look and it’s their choice because it’s a free country. Marketing execs often trundle out old fashioned and exclusionary ideas when they choose how they want to sell things. Why else would they still be using 12 year olds to sell clothing to grown women?
So they can keep their choices, and I’ll keep mine. I’m not buying in, the catalogue goes in the bin. Away forever from impressionable young hearts who want nothing more than to belong.