The 1990’s will be remembered for a variety of events, promotions and inventions, some of which include:
· Cloned Sheep
· Bill Clinton
· The Gulf War
· Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
· Phil Collins
However, I remember the 1990’s as the era of the…………Mini-Van. The Mini-Van was much, much more than just a vehicle; it was the most sought after automobile of choice for every modern, American mom. The marketing campaign for the Mini-Van birthed an entirely new advertising iconic concept--the “family” vehicle.
How naïve we (moms) were in the 90s'; we believed that we were independent thinkers who could not be persuaded or affected by the advertising industry. We assumed that our purchasing habits and decisions were solely our own. Typically, sales pitches and TV ads were unchallenging, as we quickly acquired the talent of bargain shopping and developed the gift of haggling.
Enter the year, 1997. I subconsciously succumbed to the hype of an advertisement and yes, I purchased a Mini-Van. I was totally unaware that the vehicle I was purchasing could actually change my life and the way my life was viewed by others. Within a few short years, the metamorphosis had occurred. I hardly recognized myself. I had become the epitome of domesticity.
Unbeknownst to me, behind the wheel of a Mini-Van, a person reeks of Mommy-hood. A Mini-Van is a vehicle that is constantly traveling (running errands) without ever really identifying a true destination. Throughout history, since the invention of the automobile, there has never been a vehicle that has stereotyped its owner quite as effectively as the Mini-Van.
A Mini-Van Mama is usually a coupon clipping, PTA certified, T-Ball inclined, financially challenged, laundry sorting, meal preparing female. A Mini-Van Mama proudly displays her accomplishments on the back window of her vehicle with stick figure decals that reveal every person in the household along with the family dog and cat. Of course, honor student bumper stickers and marching band decals complete the decorative motif.
It bares stating that the resale value of a pre-owned Mini-Van is extremely low, mainly because most Mini-Vans are driven until they drop. In addition, I am certain that the smashed candy inside the armrests, mud stains and spilled cherry cola throughout the interior, combined with the permanent indention of small footprints embedded onto the back of the driver’s seat, would greatly decrease the resale value anyway.
Although a Mini-Van can seat seven people comfortably, for some reason, one more seat is always needed. A Mini-Van Mama inadvertently adds passengers, not through labor and delivery, but by pick up. A Mini-Van Mama often finds herself moonlighting as a transportation liaison for other children, as well as, her own.
A Mini-Van is a mobile packing company, ready to roll at a moment’s notice and can be identified easily by the array of objects contained in the back compartment. Some of the more common necessities include: Baseball bats, bicycles, strollers, diaper bags, groceries, lawn chairs, stuffed animals, blankets, duffle bag containing snacks, books and wipes, umbrellas and so-on.
The most amazing transformation I witnessed was the persona transfer that continued outside of the vehicle. During the 1990’s, it was very easy to spot a fellow Mini-Van Mama, particularly at a department or discount store (usually a discount store). A Mini-Van Mama typically would have two or more children, dressed in sweat pants or possibly blue jeans, tennis shoes (no brand name), little or no makeup, a hurried look and keys in hand at the register.
Are you (or were you) a Mini-Van Mama?
The following list contains a few common characteristics of a Mini-Van Mama:
1. Employed outside the home, full or part-time
2. Room mother at school
3. Disagreement arbitrator
4. Education assistant (Homework)
5. Cook/Crockpot guru
7. Financial coordinator (pays bills, balances checkbook)
8. Utilizes call-waiting feature often
9. Coffee anytime during the day
10. Cookie crumbs/Cheerios® on the floor that get caught between your toes when barefoot
11. Deep fryers, Electric skillets and Microwaves (Who has time to bake, boil or broil).
12. Uses paper plates and plastic dishes that burp, daily
13. Writes a list for everything
14. Forgets to look at the list
15. Christmas shops on Black Friday
16. Decorates the day after Thanksgiving
17. Plans to exercise after the first of the year (every year)
18. Avid coupon clipper
19. I will not tell you kids to stop it, one more time (said for the third time)
20. Most common Mini-Van Mama Quote: "Don't make me pull this van over.........."
How many of the above characteristics could you identify with?
12-20- Congratulations you are a true Mini-Van Mama
10-12- Not bad, probably drive an SUV that looks like a Mini-Mini-Van
0-10 – That's o.k. - Sedan driver who just hasn’t made the leap to SUV or Mini-Van
Although, the popularity of the Mini-Van, in many cases, has since been replaced by the SUV, the fact remains that the Mini-Van has one other attraction that has remained quiet and to this day remains the Mini-Vans greatest benefit. This benefit, however, did not become evident to me until 2004, when my then, 16, year old son explained that he would rather WALK to school than drive the family Mini-Van. Then it hit me........Now THAT’S what I call an advertising concept!