DESIGN AN AD: Langley kids’ creativity pulls on heart strings

The insightfulness and attention to details captured in kids’ ads is ‘mind-blowing’ to adults.

When asked to draw an advertisement for Real Canadian Superstore, one young boy insisted his ad had to incorporate toilet paper.

For him, that’s what Superstore is all about. That’s where his mom goes to get TP, and apparently – she’s told him more than once – he goes through a lot.

His story brought Langley Advance advertising manager Shaulene Burkett to tears – tears of laughter.

Turns out his Superstore ad did, in fact, include toilet paper, which prompted more chuckles.

“I love to see the imagination and creativity that come out. It’s amazing what they can draw,” Burkett said of the dozens of Grade 4 and 5 students who contributed to this year’s Design An Ad program.

It also serves as an eye opener to her and participating business owners and operators allowing them to see the local stores and shops from a child’s perspective.

This year, 14 classes created newspaper advertising for today’s Design An Ad special section, and the images were “brilliant,” Burkett said.

One of the merchants, Great Canadian Oil Change, was so impressed with the child-designed ads, that he has planned an entire year-long advertising campaign around the art created by Grade 4 students in Kaitlin Burns’ class at R.C. Garnett Demonstration School.

In preparation for DAA, Burkett and her team visited participating classes to offer some basic directions and answer questions.

This year one of the kids asked if she was going to be famous if her ad was picked. She had to break the sad news. “Sorry, no.”

Another youngster reminded Burkett of a young Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon) when asking for the Advance team rep’s digits.

“I foresee that I will have some questions. What number can you be reached at?” the little boy said.

Shawn McMahon’s two teenagers are not what he’d call artistically inclined. They excel more in the sports arena.

But that didn’t stop the father and owner of Broco Auto Glass from admiring the “clever” and sometimes “witty” efforts of the young students who created a series of ads for his business during this year’s Design An Ad program.

“I think it’s a pretty neat idea,” he said, wishing he’d had that kind of opportunity as a kid.

Walk into the Fountain Tire’s waiting room, guests will see all of the ads designed for Chris Dirkson’s company this year. They’re being framed and hung for the public to view.

Dirkson, who took over as owner of the Langley Bypass tire store three years ago, jump on board with the program immediately. He sees it as a fun way to engage with the community he serves, and a great way to connect with local families.

Reluctantly, Dirkson admittedly he gets choked up at some of the advertisements the children make for him each year.

“Something about it… I find is so touching and so adorable, I can’t stand it,” he said. He noted that on the flip side, some of the designs leave he and his assistant manager rolling on the office floor in laughter.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Dirkson, applauding the “incredible creativity” that comes to life on the pages. “I love it because… I have kids myself and when I look at these ads… it tugs right at the heart strings… great job.”

Burkett concurs. The Design An Ad program is not only a hit among the young artists, participating businesses, and members of the Advance team. It’s one of the most popular sections with Advance readers.

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