To the bewilderment of many, PNC Bank and its ‘Grow Up Great’ campaign are the new sponsor of popular children’s show Sesame Street. The bailed-out bank that accepted $5 billion of taxpayer money and used some of those funds to carry out an acquisition during the recession has launched a new project designed to support children’s first steps in spending, sharing and saving money.
for me, for you, for later aims to guide children and build an understanding of money, hoping these early childhood education lessons will help them grow up to make good financial decisions in life. A multimedia kit is available from PNC branches, which includes an activity book, a guide for parents, labels for money jars and a Sesame Street DVD. The Sesame Street website also has a number of activities, games and videos for children.
However, critics like David Sarota, argue that the corporate bank-driven campaign ultimately promotes materialism and consumerism that have proven insidious for children’s psychological and fiscal well-being:
Certainly, kids need to learn about money, but they don’t have to be taught that money is meant primarily to buy stuff …Instead, Sesame Street could, say, amplify the research-supported notion that money spent on experiences with friends and family leads to more satisfaction than money spent on blingy gadgets…Alternately, the program could spend more time promoting the idea that you don’t have to spend money at all to enjoy life — and that you should actively avoid trying to keep up with the Joneses.