Dec 18, 2010

Sticking it to My Family

I find the whole concept of My Family stickers - now spreading like obnoxious planter warts across the back windscreens of vehicles Australia-wide - fairly repulsive. Mostly because I question the need to so openly advertise one's familial make-up to potential thieves and child sex offenders.

Having said that - hot DAMN I wish I'd invented the idea.

Let me explain.

For the uninitiated, the My Family stickers allow you to distill the complex and varied personalities of your family members into "humourous" stick figure stickers, which you group together on the back of your Rav4, Territory, Prado or other 4WD (for some reason, they're particularly popular on 4WDs). Fellow motorists will enjoy a reprieve from traffic as they get the line-drawing lowdown on pot-bellied BBQ fan Dad, bookworm Mum, the teenage daughter who wants to be a pop star, and the younger son who just can't get enough of skateboards. There are also options for grandparents, babies, pets, and somewhat bizarrely, angels (I don't like to think too much about that one).

I'm actually quite wary of slagging the trend off too much. I actually value the sentiment behind it - being proud of one's family. I really do believe that's a wonderful thing. And I suspect that it may be kids driving the demand for the stickers moreso than parents/drivers - after all, could anybody love stickers more than kids?

Possibly this man.
I've also been pleased that they haven't been totally homogenised by "ideal" nuclear families; combinations I've seen include a single-parent family, and what could only be considered a "Crazy Cat Lady" module (one woman, six cat stickers).

But still, there's just something about it that's just... you know... weird. Like somebody buying you the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food DVD boxset. You appreciate it's a nice thing, but that doesn't make it necessary.

And making a non-necessity a must-have is the true genius of My Family. People are laying out $4 a pop for these stickers; an amount that is small enough to be inoffensive to the average family budget, but collectively means a massive CHA-CHING for the people behind this blasted concept.

I want to have an idea like that. Ben Elton, in his play Gasping, calls it a "Pot Noodle": a product that nobody realised they wanted/needed until it was invented. Something out of nothing. The My Family stickers are a perfect example of this.

The only Pot Noodle idea I've had so far is for a mobile phone application that lets you know which hair salons in your local area have spaces free for walk-in appointments. This followed my experience yesterday of going to five different salons before finding one able to give my unruly mane a chop. I figure for shiftworkers or people who find it hard to book ahead for hair and beauty services, it could be handy. But perhaps something like that already exists. Perhaps it's a completely stupid idea.

But then, if you'd asked me whether charging $4 for a stick figure sticker was a good idea, I would've both laughed in AND slapped your face.

Does anybody else have a Pot Noodle idea? Perhaps you could cut me in for 20%...


  1. I think the walk in appointment application sounds like a great idea! Maybe along with a review of the salon. I'm always travelling so find it hard to find anywhere half decent to get a chop!

  2. Those stickers shit me no end, mostly because there are people out there having three, four or five kids yelling at the world "I'm proud of my massive environmental footprint and my selfish resources hungry ways!!" Stop having kids!! We're running out of space!!

  3. That's the secret of being a millionaire right there. Your product should cost one person a million... it should cost a million people one dollar... Hence the brilliance of dollar anythings.

  4. Here in California, not only the stick figures are popular, they've made Mickey Mouse heads with ribbons, Flip-Flops, and skullheads as cartoon characters for family figures. I agree about the "thieves" perspective, but with all the separated/divorced families here, the thieves would be confused: 3 dads, 1 mom, 7 children not all living together but displayed at the back of their SUV. LOL

  5. these are big in the US, although I never saw them in the UK. I always see them as a kind of smug statement: "I can conceive so...naaaa" - saw one the other day with about 8 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats etc on. You are right in that they are usually on SUVs.

  6. I've noticed a rapid increase in these over the last year or so - they're the frangipani stickers for the older generation.

    While I'm generally happy to bash any new pointless trend, these don't seem too bad - though I'm not about to rush out and get any.

  7. Well, quite Tim. I mean, I don't want to be too much of a grump about it.

    One day I'll write about the real injustices of the world, but for now, petty grievances it is. ;)

    Thanks for your comments, all!

  8. Bumper stickers of almost any kind make me feel awkward about the person I more than likely just cut off. Seriously though? My thumbs down would go to "Crusin' in memory of" ones... those are usually WAY too big and just unnecessary.

  9. I am wondering what I can do to seriously screw with peoples minds. Do they have pics of bodies in barrels? Waddabout the girlfriend in handcuffs? Perhaps the daughter smoking a joint? Hehehee I want the St Love Family.... hich nurse is my favorite????

  10. Rastas - YES.

    My St Love Family. It MUST be done.

    Or not.

    But the idea is lots of fun. :)

  11. LOL - the only bumper stickers I have say "Partnership for An Idiot Free America"
    "My Zombies Ate Your Honor Roll Student" and my kids love both of them.

    As for a Pot Noodle idea... I have a few stewing around - will have to get back to you.

    The one that drives me the craziest is the silly bandz.

  12. We were POSITIVE we'd seen an angel one on a car but never saw one again. Thanks for the proof that they do indeed exist.

    Why though? Why do you need to tell the world about that supreme personal loss? Attention whore to an extreme level I think.

    Good read. They annoy the crap out of me too. Saw a car today that cracked me up was an older car and just had a sticker of a man having just swung a golf club.

    I don't know if the intention was "Yes, ladies...I'm single!" or not but it was hard to comprehend the motive behind it.

  13. I'd like to have a Husband and Wife and then a baby cut up into pieces.

  14. We were in the US about four years ago, and they were EVERYWHERE. It was a new thing to us, and we hadn't seen them at home, so we bought a set and stuck them on our car. I think we went for well over two years before we saw another set, then a few months later another set, then another... Wanda wisely chose to remove them before they exploded in popularity. Was nice while they were unusual, but yeah they're frangipanis now.

  15. I love that you saw a crazy cat lady because that is the first thing I thought of when I saw the topic of this post. A woman who lives by me has a car and it has a woman stick figure, two dogs and, I kid you not, 13 cats. I counted once. I'm not sure if she's exaggerating for effect, but if she is, it's working. I kind of want to send her a card or something to let her know that human beings still know that she exists.

  16. The ones that I hate child/kid/baby on board. NuFfIes the lot, the sign is meant to indicate to emergency services that a small individual is present and may be missed in the wreckage. Yet the sign is up 24/7.

  17. wow! This is almost scary because my blog posted this morning described my stick it to my family stickers issue and I DO actually have the lady with six cats on the back of my car. I am going to have to post a pic now just to show you! That's hilarious! Someone out there that thinks along the same wavelength as me... you know, I still don't can't guarantee who my father is lol!

  18. Yup. 'Tis true. They are everywhere here. Luckily [or not] we have been drafted into the minivan army because of my daughter's wheelchair. So we do not have one. I am slightly tempted every time I see one...but then I forget about it a millisecond later when the light turns green.

  19. I saw one vehicle the other day - I'm still haven't decided if he was taking the piss or not.

    It had a male figure, then three female figures crossed out with a child underneath each. Then a horse, an upside down dead horse, a dog, a dead dog and a cat.

    It's either brilliant or sad, I'm not sure which.

  20. For others, it is trend annoyance. For me, it is REPORTING. I was pretty meh, but I did like the fact that they have a female mum soldier one.

  21. i'd like to have a Husband and Wife and then a baby cut up into pieces.

  22. I like to live alone and to travel alone, but on the holidays, I normally spent with my family and I love those times too