Daniel SanGiacomo

aka Daniel Aktas

Shopkins and Addictive Consumerism

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Shopkins and Addictive Consumerism by Daniel Aktas



Shopkins Official TV Commercial Ad HD

Link to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06WUc7y8vak

Watch in slow motion: http://www.youtubeslow.com/watch?v=06WUc7y8vak

Non-Inference Observations

  • Visual
    • Scenes last for 1-2 seconds
    • Scenes lasting for longer than 2 seconds are zoomed into frame
    • Small marble-sized anthropomorphised toys are called “shopkins”
    • This ad features food-related shopkins
    • Ad features animated scenes and girls playing with toys
    • Scenes show excess of 10 shopkins toys in each scene
    • Gold cupcake shopkin titled as “limited edition”
    • Shopkins are displayed with the text “148 to collect”
    • Last scene shows girl with a facial expression of excitement holding miniature shopping bag with shopkin inside
    • Shopkins sub title reads “once you shop… you can’t stop!”
    • Shopkins shown only being played with in store setting
    • “Each sold separately” shown at bottom of screen
  • Audio
    • Melody used throughout ad
    • “There is a surprise in every shopping bag”
    • “Shopkins want to be shopped by you”
    • “I love shopkins to collect”
    • “If you lucky you might find a limited edition one”
    • “There are 148 shopkins to collect”
    • “Once you shop, you can’t stop”

Inference Observation

This series of toy has been around since 2014 and fostered a myriad of spin off ‘collectable collections’. I find this advertisement to be manipulative and consumerist in nature. The advertisement encourages the collection of these items as their purpose. With visuals and audio that say “want to be shopped by you”, “to collect”, and “once you shop… you can’t stop!” all ask the children of this campaign to consume these objects for the joy of consumption. I also see a gambling behavior encouraged with the feature of “limited edition” gold version and the audio that tells the audience “There is a surprise in every shopping bag”. The only scenes of children playing with the collectible objects show them being play-purchased at a supermarket and placed into shopping bags. I can’t stand this trivial gamification of consumption.

The Plan!

Why do advertisements need to sell you something? Shopkins take advantage of children ages 8 to 10 tendency to collect.

My plan is to encourage children to make and share their own collectibles using cheap wood doll pawns and ephemeral materials.


  1. Find three children ages 8 to 10
  2. Give each child 3 pawns to decorate
  3. Ask children to trade their two spare pawns with each other

Document the Activity and Maybe make an anti-advertisement out of it.

Resouce: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292992719_Collect_’em_all_Gender_consumerism_and_the_Shopkins_phenomenon


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