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Sponsored Birthday Parties for Kids?!?

birthday-party-decorationsIf life as a mom blogger has its perks, then life as a mom blogger’s kid has a few too!

Toys get delivered to their door, DVDs and video games arrive for testing, and Mickey Mouse dances with them at private parties in Disney World. Yes, it can be a bit crazy at times.

While I try to protect my children from getting too spoiled, (and review items rarely come to our house anymore as most go to our 5m4m writers,) I love to give my kids some perks and have them occasionally travel with me.

Just as I work hard for what people see as “free stuff,” my kids have to deal with a working mom who often travels. So I want to give them some of the extra fun stuff, as well as the experiences of traveling together for my blogging.

But, as bloggers and companies get more creative about how to create unique marketing solutions, a new phenomenon is beginning — sponsored birthday parties!

When you flip through People magazine, you will read about stars and their sponsored birthday bashes at nightclubs, with companies squeezing their name into the shot — or even on the cake.

But should mom bloggers’ kids be getting into that action?

On a recent installment of the Late Night Parents show, Adam Cohen from DaDa Rocks and Josh Becker from DadStreet discussed Adam’s son’s birthday party, which included sponsored goodie bags, (in addition to the goody bags that the Cohen’s had personally purchased.)

Amy Bair from Resourceful Mommy spoke out strongly against the concept:

I think that children of bloggers often have a life and a lifestyle that is not typical. And while there’s no real “normal,” having a sponsored goody bag takes it to a new level of crazy that is unnecessary. – Amy Bair

And while I definitely see Amy’s point and I am not sure whether I would introduce a sponsored element into my children’s parties, Adam Cohen had some great points about how he and his wife came to the decision and how they ensured that the element of the sponsorship did not take away from their event.

MC: Why did you choose to have a sponsored element at your son’s party?

Adam Cohen: Part of the joy I get from doing DaDa Rocks is rewarding people with gifts, giveaways, and other items they might not be able to receive on their own… When I was asked if I would like an additional party favor – I was more then happy to accept the gift that I would pass on to those at the party. Additionally the gifts matched the theme of the party. We would have never accepted anything that didn’t match with the party’s theme.

MC: How did that happen? Did you seek out sponsorship?

Adam Cohen: I had been talking about the theme for my son’s birthday to a PR rep who is a good friend of mine… I was happy to work with them to make this gift something that would be enjoyed by the masses at the party.

MC: What would you say to people who criticize your decision?

Adam Cohen: This element didn’t replace anything that my family was doing or had done… We felt strongly enough about this that we gave goodie bag gifts from our family personally that were distinctively different. If the guests had an issue with it, I would have hoped they would have given them backing saying we couldn’t accept this, but everyone was more then happy too. At some point I would say they were thrilled to received the extra favors.

This wasn’t the case of me going out and trying to get companies to pay for my kids’ b-day party. One of my PR contacts came to me knowing what my theme was and approached me with this idea that I ran by my wife. My wife felt strongly that she didn’t want the party to be sponsored straight out, but that since it wasn’t in replacement of what we would do – it was just additional gifts from DaDa Rocks – then she felt good about it.

My Thoughts on the Subject

After watching and chatting about the subject of sponsored birthday parties both during the Late Night Parents episode, as well as interviewing Adam afterword, I am somewhat undecided. Is anything sacred from the world of advertising — do we even offer up our private family celebrations? Or, if it adds to the experience and isn’t harming or taking away from the event, then the argument can be definitely be made for, “Why not?”

And those questions lead back to where we started — is this good for the kids?!? Are mom blogger’s kids worlds getting too crazy and not “normal.”

I think that question is ultimately decided by each parent, and while moms seem to quickly jump to judging one another, I am going to resist. To each her own party.

The reality is that my children will go to many birthday parties and play at many friends’ houses that are WAY beyond what I could ever afford to give them. Each child has a different reality. Some are born traveling the world first class and some don’t even have a buss pass or a bicycle.

Yes, my kids get some free toys and trips, (bloggers generally have to pay to bring our children with us on press trips,) but they don’t have many luxuries that some of your children may have. What families can afford can varies from country to country, neighborhood to neighborhood, and house to house.

What do YOU think?

Should bloggers allow sponsored goody bags or other sponsored elements into their children’s birthday parties?

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