A couple weeks ago I came into my first primary school of the day to be greeted by this nonsense. There was a massive promotional push to get kids to drink a particular brand of Vietnamese milk (Dutch Lady) happening this morning.

Because I have to walk through the courtyard to park my bike in the rear of the school, I had to navigate it past maybe a thousand children playing with the mascots, getting pictures taken, and generally running amok because there was some kind of change in their schedule.

You remember how fun changes to the school day were when you were little? It was crazy! All bets were off when things didn’t follow the normal day! And it always felt so great to bust out of the routine. This was like a mixture concert, basketball contest, circus, and toy giveaway, and it was totally crazy.

As a promotional stunt, I have to believe it was super successful for the company.

Many parts of the public schools are branded by companies eager to get their product and logos in front of impressionable brains. This is not terribly surprising here – regardless of the continuing growth of the middle class, much of Vietnam is still very poor. I would imagine that to a parent or administrator, a free backpack is a free backpack, and a school mural must look almost as nice with a giant logo slapped on it.

The whole thing was funny until we got to class – where I discovered promo people giving away comic books and toys all morning. I cannot even tell you how many comics, tops, and stickers I took away from kids that morning. It was a lot. Literally a pile.

And for your amusement, here are some Vietnamese actors playing giant drops of milk and getting accosted by primary school monsters: