Spot the Problem in this Advertisement

Photo of a newspaper advertisement featuring a child in a car seat between two grocery bags with a mother visible through the open back door.

My wife and I spotted the same problem with this advertisement in Sunday’s newspaper. My 5-year-old daughter spotted an entirely different problem.

There’s a children’s music CD from the Thinga Prize Vault in it for you if you’re the first to correctly identify the problem I or my daughter saw, or you post the funniest problem (I don’t see anything funny, but sometimes you folks surprise me). Submissions from anywhere in the world are welcome. Do I still have a reader in Norway? How about Azerbaijan?

It’s pretty straight-forward if you share our sensibilities.

Update: The contest is over. Read about the winners.


45 Responses to “Spot the Problem in this Advertisement”

  1. Ann-Marie says:

    Where is the tether for the forward facing car seat? Geesh.

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:15 am

  2. Abbril says:

    a) There doesn’t seem to be a back to the bench seat in the car.

    b) Straps on the carseat are loose and the seat is not installed collectly, if at all.

    c) No one puts groceries in the car like that. They will topple over and make a HUGE mess — plus they are a HUGE HUGE HUGE projectile threat in the event of a collision.

    d) No mom is that happy after grocery shopping and no car with a toddler in it is that clean :)

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:21 am

  3. Abbril says:

    a) There doesn’t seem to be a back to the bench seat in the car.

    b) Straps on the carseat are loose and the seat is not installed correctly, if at all.

    c) No one puts groceries in the car like that. They will topple over and make a HUGE mess — plus they are a HUGE HUGE HUGE projectile threat in the event of a collision.

    d) No mom is that happy after grocery shopping and no car with a toddler in it is that clean :)

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:22 am

  4. silver says:

    That baby shouldn’t be forward facing.

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:24 am

  5. mariel says:

    Who packs their groceries like that- milk with the lettuce with the chips? It’s not going to be pretty when you get home. I’m surprised they have paper bags too- no reuseable?

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:58 am

  6. Dana says:

    OMG she has a BOYS sippy cup! It’s blue and green, not pink and purple! She’s going to grow up to be gender-confused.

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:58 am

  7. Spookygirl says:

    If the child is forward facing (which it is entirely possible she is too young to be, but I am a bad judge of baby ages) her shoulder straps should be at or above shoulder level not below?

    Target doesn’t offer a paper bag option, especially such cool ones with great handles..

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:11 am

  8. amy says:

    How about the fact that the baby is in the carseat and the mom appears to be leaving her there while she empties the car? At least crack a window, jeez ;)

    It appears that the car has no back to its back seat? I mean I guess you can try to attach the carseat to the groceries, but i can’t see that being safe.

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:11 am

  9. Jessica says:

    Ick. Looking at the actual ad, the baby has no straps at all below where the sippy cup is, its just a random harness on her shoulders and thats it. The slots are below her shoulders and should be above since she is forward facing, though, she also shouldn’t be forward facing in the first place.

    She has a sippy cup that isnt pink and doesnt have princessy glitter junk on it! (I just bought my daughter the same cups, they have farm animals, she loves them :) )

    The groceries would also not have stayed in place like that on the ride home, and if it was my daughter in the back seat she would have found a way to eat them all along the way, especially the broccoli on the left :)

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:36 am

  10. andifoo says:

    There is no way I would place overly full grocery bags on the seat within arms reach of my toddler. Unless I wanted to lose my mind on the drive home while my kid has a field day dumping one grocery bag into the floor & emptying the other one product at a time. Just sayin’.

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:39 am

  11. Amber says:

    “Target doesn’t offer a paper bag option, especially such cool ones with great handles..”

    Sure they do–I have one under my sink right now, ready to collect recyclables.

    I agree with you, though, no way that kid weighs 30 pounds yet. Children should, for maximum safety, ride rear-facing until they reach the weight limit on the seat for that position.

    Forgetting the fact that the carseat has been photoshopped into the picture in the first place (and possibly the child photoshopped into that specific seat, as well), how about putting the Market Pantry OJ (I have some in my fridge right now, we do all our shopping at Target) on the top of the bag, next to the chips? Not only will those chips be crushed as soon as she grabs that bag by the handles, but anything under has the potential for squishing, too.

    Although quite frankly, that’d be about par for the average Target employee’s ability to sack paper bags. Abysmal.

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:51 am

  12. anjii says:

    Looks like sleeping in this morning wasn’t a good thing after all, lol. Everyone beat me to my answers which are all the problems with the carseat, specifically that she shouldn’t be forward facing, and that, if she is, her shoulder straps are below, rather than at/above her shoulders. She sure is cute though :)

    September 7th, 2009 at 9:31 am

  13. Linny says:

    My boy would empty the bags if I put them that close to him!

    And shouldn’t the baby face the other direction?!

    And when did Target start using paper bags? Shouldn’t they use reusable grocery bags in their ads?!

    September 7th, 2009 at 9:52 am

  14. Kara says:

    The “o” in “oh baby, what a sale!” should be capitalized, says my five year old.

    And yes, carseat problems. And why aren’t they using reusable bags. They even use reusable bags in Wal-Mart ads these days.

    September 7th, 2009 at 10:13 am

  15. Robin says:

    also the sippy cup spout is facing the wrong way if the baby should want a drink.

    September 7th, 2009 at 10:58 am

  16. Angie says:

    My baby always drinks from the sippy cup that way. Marching to the beat of her own drummer, I guess.

    September 7th, 2009 at 11:17 am

  17. ericafromamerica says:

    Straps are too low (below shoulders) on car seat. Should be at or above shoulder level.

    Groceries will go flying with normal driving conditions.

    Space between car seat and the seat of the car. Should be tight and snug with no possible movement.

    Cute baby. :)

    September 7th, 2009 at 11:20 am

  18. Hyla says:

    How are the baby and mom supposedly making eye contact??

    Windows in vans are tinted, that baby must be in a JEEP, dear God what are they thinking!?

    Is that baby for sale?

    Shouldnt the bags say Expect more Pay less

    I dont think I would want my baby taking a bite out of a pepper on the way home! Yikes!

    September 7th, 2009 at 11:29 am

  19. Hyla says:

    My 8 year old says there is no back to the seat and no seatbelt holding the carseat in

    September 7th, 2009 at 11:32 am

  20. Jen says:

    Weight statements are strange…. 5-30lbs and 20-40lbs….

    Also- what are they both looking at? the target logo? Strange…

    September 7th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

  21. Inki says:

    Your Norwegian reader here :-)
    Hmm, the only one I can come up with that hasn’t been mentioned yet: If the seat is called Graco ComfortSport in Midas, shouldn’t it be gold colored? ;-)

    September 7th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

  22. Julia says:

    The carseat is in the middle, which is not recommended as safe! I’m curious to see what the real answers are.

    September 7th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  23. susan says:

    Well I don’t see a back to that seat for one (and where are the head rests?). Next she doesn’t seem to be strapped in right with the shoulder harness too low and the whole seat forward facing. Is this car seat even strapped in? There is no indentation in the seat so it looks like the seat is just balanced on top. Next that child has a blue cup. Since the child is dressed in pink head to toe I am going to assume she is female however the blue cup gives me pause. The car seat also has a cup holder that seems to be removed for this photo. The grocery bags are over flowing so you could not even hold the handles with out smashing the groceries. I have never seen a Target with nice paper bags like that either. What mother puts here groceries on the seat next to a toddler. She obviously has a huge vehicle of some sort with plenty of cargo area behind the baby. This child’s shoes are far to clean and don’t even have one scuff mark on them. This whole picture just screams photoshopped to me.

    September 7th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

  24. Becca says:

    There should be a comma between “oh” and “baby”: “oh, baby, what a sale!”

    I’ll forgive the non-capitalization of “oh” as a print style preference.

    Also, those groceries will be in the back floorboard before Mom even gets out of the parking lot.

    September 7th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  25. Shannon says:

    Car seat isn’t backing into anything!!

    September 7th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  26. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    It is common for car seat limits to be like that — with a overlap between when it can be used forward facing versus rear-facing. PArtly so that a child can be turned if they outgrow a seat by height before they outgrow it by weight. And partly for those parents who want to turn their child the moment they turn 1 year old.

    It is not dangerous to be a car seat in the middle of the back seat, as long as it is attached properly by manufacturer’s and the car’s instructions.

    September 7th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  27. Josh says:

    That child is clearly wearing Crocs. Shame….

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

  28. Erin says:

    I guess the ad designer wasn’t aware of the product he/she was advertising…REAR facing car seats should face to the rear of the car for a baby that size…not to mention I’m pretty sure you need a complete seat to instal a car seat on (missing back) AND for safety sake groceries shouldn’t be packed around the baby.

    September 7th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

  29. Katie says:

    The bag on the right doesn’t have any printing on it, while the other two bags do?

    Other than that, all I can say it is painfully obvious the picture is photoshopped, but it’s hard to spot any glaring errors.

    September 7th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

  30. amy says:

    The firefighter who installed my rearfacing seat said that the straps should be at of below the shoulders so that in the even of an accident he is not propelled upward, rather held down in place.

    Why am I reading the opposite in the thinga comments?

    September 8th, 2009 at 6:09 am

  31. amy says:

    For what it is worth, my Target(s) do not have paper bags, nor do they have produce…

    September 8th, 2009 at 6:13 am

  32. Jennifer says:

    The entire think is photo shopped, there is no back to the seat, I’m sure the car seat is not buckled in, and there are no doors on either side…do people really put thier toddlers WAY IN THE BACK of a van? Didn’t think so.

    Oh, and FYI, the middle is the SAFEST place to put a car seat. Middle, back seat, rear facing up to 20 lbs (and could be longer).

    Middle position protects from any side impact.

    September 8th, 2009 at 6:17 am

  33. anjii says:

    Amy, for rearfacing at or below the shoulders IS the correct strap placement. When they switch to forward facing though (like the baby in the picture), it must be changed to at or above the shoulders :)

    September 8th, 2009 at 8:14 am

  34. Julie says:

    The interior of the car is that totally light beige…and when that kid in the totally photoshopped car seat drops her boy-colored cus of what’s probably some horrible red fruit punch…that light colored car is going to be stained forever. =)Seriously…why would anyone with a toddler have a car with that light of an interior?? =) Don’t they know the mess kids make of cars??? =)

    September 8th, 2009 at 9:07 am

  35. AnneK says:

    Mom’s bag does not have a handle, unlike the others. (And, the seat has no back, there are no visible seat belts on anything except the carseat, the groceries will topple upon braking and/or investigation by small fry, the child may be a little young to face forward, the carseat is not strapped to anything, and they look entirely too happy about the Aliens descending from the sky.) The only other thing is how on earth did they fit 2 grocery bags SIDEWAYS with a carseat in the middle — how wide is that car???

    September 8th, 2009 at 9:17 am

  36. Scott says:

    That cup is clearly way too big for such a small child :-)

    September 8th, 2009 at 9:45 am

  37. Scott says:

    Also, the child appears to be levitating.

    September 8th, 2009 at 9:46 am

  38. Pam says:

    That baby has ENORMOUS feet.

    Her pinky seems to be missing on one hand, or is that just the crappy photoshop quality?

    I have never been able to grip on to a bag of groceries from the middle, have you?

    Not sure if any of the above has anything to do with your sensabilities, but I just wanted to chime in.

    September 8th, 2009 at 11:31 am

  39. Penguinmommy says:

    Ummm the first thing that hit me was that the between-the-legs part of the (I’m guessing here) 5 point harness appears to be dangling between the legs? All in all, very funny.

    On a side note our Super Target has the grocery section and nice bags; the regular one does not.

    September 8th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

  40. Jason says:

    Lots of problems with this photo. Obviously the kid should be facing the other direction, but that wouldn’t make a very good picture now would it. The groceries shouldn’t be placed next to the child. The car seat is huge. Above posters are correct the child’s seat is not anchored in any way and the kid is floating! The grocery bags are huge! The head rest and maybe even some of the seat-back have been removed from the picture so we can see smiling mom. Angle of the child’s eyes look as though it is smiling at the roof of the car? It as two conflicting mottos, one for the logo on the bags and another for the taget logo on the ad. Lots of issues with this one, bet I could find a dozen more if I spent more time on it. Great that your little one saw them though, interested to know what she thought was an error.

    September 8th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  41. Amber says:

    I don’t see what’s so bad about using the paper bags in the ad. At least they’re not plastic.

    We get the paper bags, then reuse them for recyclables, eventually recycling them as well as they get torn and misshapen– or firestarting material for when we have rec fires in the yard.

    Plus, I hate trying to lug all those reusable bags AND my toddler around. By the time I get to the checkout, the cart’s full and there’s no place to put them.

    I’ll stick with paper, thanks.

    September 8th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

  42. Kimberly says:

    Ack the suspense is killing me!!

    September 8th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

  43. Jen says:

    It’s already been said, but the baby should be turned around. That’s the big one. I also find it absurd that the groceries would be placed next to her and not behind her. They’re bound to fall over or fall on the girl. IF the girl is old enough and heavy enough to be forward facing, the seat should be anchored.

    September 10th, 2009 at 6:36 am

  44. Jennie D says:

    All the veggies aren’t wrapped in individual produce bags. I’m sure it was in contact with worse already and I’d be washing it thouroughly prior to use, but nevertheless, I would never stick a head of broccoli in a nasty shopping cart without dropping in a plastic produce bag first.

    Good catch, Pam, with the missing pinky… yikes!
    This was fun. Kind of like a “Highlights” search & find :)

    September 10th, 2009 at 7:08 am

  45. anjii says:

    Does the fact that you haven’t posted your observations yet mean that no one has seen them yet? I can’t wait to hear what you guys saw wrong :)

    September 10th, 2009 at 9:33 am