CounterMarketing Consumption Cues: Think Geek Gifting Fun

wienerwhistleUpdate: Dec. 21, 2014 Adding a few more fun finds of DIY holiday hack geekery to keep it simple, and am strongly considering ordering my first RaspberryPi credit card sized computer to inspire some collegiate builders…along with MIT’s Scratch coding for kids.  (my original post on the new launch of and uses for making STEM kid-friendly fun is here) 

Dec. 15, 2009 You know how ‘simple pleasures’ end up being the holiday hits of the season?

The gift of time…attention…freebie finds…perspective. (My  Gilmore Girls getaway to wrap up the gift of time in a media package is still being talked about in my home!)

Every year I get a kick out of ‘predicting’ which little gifts get the ‘uber-cool’ nod, and they’re usually the unexpected ones that appeal to the ‘kid’ in kids…(remember the ‘wiener whistle’ scene with Judge Reinhold playing Neil  in The Santa Clause movie?) Last year my pick was the artsy ‘Smencils’…rainbow hued, scented colored pencils, complete with corn-based biodegradable ‘freshness tube’…This year, I’m thinking maybe it’ll be the “colorflame” candle stocking stuffers that light up in purple, red, green, blue and orange. For $3, that’s a lot of wow factor for my Jan. 4 bday cake! Plus, I bought ‘em recalling the retro  ‘oohs & ahhs’ of my childhood when my dad would let me toss those colorful crystals into the fireplace.

Oh, c’mon admit it…Haven’t you ever dug into the DIY chemistry questions of kid stuff…like how to color fire, or how those cryogenic carnie creations of “Dippin’ Dots” are made? It seems it’s still the simple stuff that gets the hoots and hollers…So I get a kick out of backflipping the message to a variation on the theme that still ends up being a hit, albeit more affordably.

drum kit shirtIf kids have Got the Gimmes (as the ol’ Berenstain Bears life lessons repeatedly reveal) it’s great to drive the point home that you’re “not made out of money” but still want to have some fun. Example?

Kids want a big bad drum set? (um, right, like that’s gonna happen here…) How ‘bout a geek chic chest thumping tee that plays drums when you touch it instead? (They also have a fun ‘WiFi detector’ tee that shows the world any signal within range… now THAT is ‘useful-geeky’)

Teen drivers hinting for a car? How about an $8  desktop Lamborghini the size of your thumb radio controlled by remote? (guaranteed pet entertainment to boot) Too droll and sassy for holiday hoopla? How about a ‘meh’ tee?

For those classic “I only want money” wishes (heavily hinting for three figure Franklins from rich relatives/fairy godmothers) try a spindly Charlie Brown Xmas tree with $1 bills tied to it as décor and a reminder that money doesn’t grow on trees, it’s ‘tied’ to work ethics and wishes for hassle free holidays…

It not only LOOKS like a ton of cash, it can double as a financial literacy/behavioral nudge if you opt to provide ‘matching funds’ to ‘double the money’ by cashing in a buck for helping out without carping and complaining. (amazing to see how ‘helpful’ those lil’ elves become!)

Anyway, you get the point. The best defense is a good offense.

Here are soap leda few more of Think Geek’s “stuff for smart masses” that spin ‘edgy/rowdy’ marketing  into new uses for both gendersTo keep troublemakers out of trouble?

LED light ‘graffiti’ An eco-geek spin for ornery elves and tagging pranksters inclined to TP friends/families’ houses on winter break…magnetic calling card; wild.

LES graffiti uses shown here, with a reminder you should only use them on your OWN property. (ahem) Pragmatically, you can use one bulb on a pet tag for night safety glow. Cool magnet concept. Winter formal/prom asks, etc.

LED faucet lights could make teethbrushing more fun with ‘futuristic alien mouthwash’ colors of bright red and blue that have pragmatic uses for warm/cold and lighting kids’ way in the dark.

Eviltron annoyance item put me in a revenge reverie of how I could ‘payback’ my older brother for gifting an obnoxious electronic singing reindeer…hmn. (Might have to get the nephews in on this one) More geek chic fun stuff to sneak in some learning…

Astronaut Ice Cream (real life space food for $3; much cheaper than the new Dippin’ Dots toy though there’s also the sour candy science, hmn)

Phyto love (plants that sprout with I <3 U message; uber-geeky, $5)

Owl Pellets (‘puke’ has never been so educational; I’ve used this teaching wildlife for GSA in the past, $6)

Ishy Squishy Spitballs (the hygienic science kind, $4 to boot)

Totally Irresponsible Science : 64 Daring Experiments for your inner mad scientist (again, DIY via pantry; hands-on learning comes in the back door)

No, I will not fix your computer shirts: Tired of mom and dad asking for help? Tween sizes galore…Hmn…duel purpose anti-bullying drollwear for school attire and brainiac-humor stereotype stuffing? Teens in Tech, take note!

Lots more DIY and hands-on techno fun over at places like O’Reilly’s Makezine, Steve Spangler Science, the “LovetoKnow” top 10 science websites for kids,  the PBS Kids Kitchen Chemistry, buzz building virtual worlds like Lego Universe’s MMORPG and specialized communities for sharing cool ideas like  Science…Enjoy!

On Technology: … “It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.  ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971″

Visual Credits: Chris Adams’ Oscar Meyer wiener whistle memorabilia



  1. it can double as a financial literacy/behavioral nudge if you opt to provide ‘matching funds’ to ‘double the money’ by cashing in a buck for helping out without carping and complaining.

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