Specifically, I'm referring to the Famous Footwear "Confidence" ad campaign, wherein a young girl is confident because of her shoes. So in one of the commercials an elementary aged girl struts through the cafeteria and sets her tray down very assertively at the "popular table". How do I know it's the popular table? There're prettier girls (ouch) who dress in a preppy fashion and give our main character an ugly glare. She sits down and puts her feet up on the table (next to her food tray--ewwww), showing off her "shimmer Converses". When the "cool kids" see her fashion statement shoes, they nod and smile at the girl, approving her seat choice. This is labeled a "victory", an easy way to start the school year.
...What does this commercial do and why do I dislike the campaign? First of all, the saying that clothes make the man is reinforced and imprinted onto little girls. The message is that in order to attain confidence, we need to buy and wear certain shoes. This undermines any non-materialistic natural confidence you may want to cultivate in a child (or an adult).
Second of all, the commercial sets out to claim that money can buy popularity or social acceptance. It's not the clothes she wears, her attitude, or her confidence that buys her "cool status" among the popular, but specifically the brand and make of shoes. As such, the message is that not only do little girls need to buy pricier brands of shoes (ex. Converse, Vans), but they have to have a pair from the latest collection (hence the "shimmer" mention). Way to promote materialism.
Finally, I remember the beginning of school as a time of anxiety, and so I think to profit from the fear of little children,while challenging their sense of confidence, as the worst form of advertising.
If you haven't seen it yet, watch one of them <a href="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lq7-_rBahnU">here</a>.