1492381402702 - Cas Carter: Easter has been hijacked by marketers

Cas Carter: Easter has been hijacked by marketers

OPINION: When I was a kid, Easter was a massive religious event.

We seemed to go to church every day, working through the Last Supper, a re-enactment of the crucifixion and the jubilation of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. It was all worth it though, because after that we’d race home to tuck into chocolate eggs.

But it all lost its shine the Easter Sunday we arrived home to find our dirty faced Dalmatian dog regurgitating foil and chocolate. My Mum confirmed all Easter eggs were consumed and we had to be happy with boiled eggs with coloured shells. Back then Easter was very different. The only thing marketers encouraged you to buy was chocolate. We never thought of going shopping. Only the dairies were open.READ MORE: * Fog disruption shows airline communication can still improve – Cas Carter * Cas Carter: Wellington College fiasco exposes school’s branding Anyway, who would staff the shops? What union would okay their members to work at Easter apart from essential services? And hey – back then Bunnings wasn’t an essential service.

There were no Easter sales, no half price sheets at Briscoes or ‘buy one get one half price’ dinner sets from Farmers. And there were no gyms open to work off the chocolate.

Some worked out in the garden although I don’t remember garden centres back then. Our mothers and grandmothers exchanged cuttings, and made their own mulch and compost

Oh, but there was food – so much food. Not supermarket trolleys full of stuff. But homemade hot cross buns – although Mum once forgot the crosses. They had lashings of gluten and dairy with a good tablespoon of melted butter on top.

The eggs were milk chocolate with marshmallow. No deviations.

There were no Whittakers Fijian Ginger and Kerikeri Mandarin or Kaitaia Chilli Pepper spice. A friend’s big brother once brought Lindt chocolate. He was so exotic.

Then the roast at Nanas followed by games. Not specially crafted digital Easter games – we played Euchre. There were no family members perusing their phone at the table. They couldn’t. It was fixed to the wall.

Church didn’t think about marketing like they do now. Our priest wouldn’t have conceived creating and posting a video on You Tube to promote attendance liked they do now. The building would be full anyway.

There was, however an Easter road toll back then. We waited for the test pattern to disappear on the TV screen so we could watch the 7pm news to hear about the road horrors.

We didn’t whip away for a short break in aussie or the Pacific islands. Back then a flight to Australia cost a fortune relative to the average income. Anyway, we had good weather at home in Easter weekend. Remember that?

Somewhere along the way people realised there was big business in Easter. A captured market of New Zealanders with time on their hands.

We swapped church for Mitre 10 mega, gardening became trendy, travel got cheaper. Easter marketing flooded in on every digital device we picked up. All sorts of shops opened, more people had to go to work. Even the weather changed.

And the chocolate got better.

This year we went on an Easter break to Sydney. We took our friends bars of Whittakers chocolates. No eggs. Our daughter stayed home – she was working in non-essential services.

My son did an Easter egg hunt – it was digital. I bought gluten free buns. We checked our phones constantly at the table.

I hardly recognise Easter nowadays for anything other than a marketing paradise. For me it all went downhill about the time the greedy Dalmatian ate my chocolate eggs.

– Cas Carter is a marketing and communications specialist.

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