It's no secret that corporations have always tried to woo teen consumers and currently spend billions of dolAn incisive exposé of the underhanded advertising initiatives that target teens-and an exploration of their disturbing consequences.
It's no secret that corporations have always tried to woo teen consumers and currently spend billions of dollars annually to do so. The efforts to relieve kids of their money are pervasive, and not every sales pitch is benign.
In Branded, Alissa Quart takes us to the dark side of marketing to teens, showing readers a disturbingly fast-paced world in which adults shamelessly insinuate themselves into "friendships" with young people in order to monitor what they wear, eat, listen to, and buy. We travel to a conference on advertising to teenagers and witness the breathless and insensitive pronouncements of lecturers there. We meet the unofficial teen "sales force" for a new girls' perfume (the unpaid daughters of the company's saleswomen) and observe the attempts of mega-corporations to purchase the time and space for product-placement in schools. We witness the aggressive and potentially emotionally damaging ways in which adults seek to control vulnerable young minds and wallets. But we also witness the bravery of isolated and increasingly Internet-linked kids who attempt to turn the tables on the cocksure corporations that so cynically strive to manipulate them.
Eye-opening and urgent, Branded exposes and condemns a segment of American business whose high-paid job it is to reduce teens to their lowest common denominator, to systematically sap youth of individuality and creativity. Engaging and thought provoking, Branded ensures that consumers will never look at the American way of doing business in the same way again.
In Branded, author Alissa Quart spotlights the most nefarious of youth marketing techniques, revealing eye-opening facts about the commercialization of today's teens, including:
--31 million teens now spend upwards of $153 billion on leisure expenses--clothing, CDs, and makeup--a year. 55% of American high-school seniors work more than three hours a day to earn the money to fulfill their need for stuff.
--A growing number of high schools are sponsored by corporations. Textbooks regularly mention Oreo cookies and math problems contain Nike logos. Teenagers not only play ball in gyms rimmed with logos but also spend their English classes coming up with advertising slogans for sponsors, all under the auspices of their so-called public schools.
--In the last two years, cosmetic surgery rates for teens have gone from 1% to 3% of the total 4.6 million surgeries performed each year. Teen liposcution has doubled; breast augmentation has increased by almost a third in the last five years.