The perfect antidote for the post-holiday shopping hangover. In Branded,
Alissa Quart dissects the insidious ways that corporations market directly
to teens, targeting their basest desires (fitting in, making friends,
celebrating freedom) and driving them to consume. This stunning exposé should be required reading for every parent and teenager.
Synopses & Reviews
An 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.
"Quart makes it clear that being wary of advertising should be one of those childhood cautions, along with don't talk to strangers, and that it is our job to instruct our children....Branded is a cogent wake-up call for both generations." Karen Stabiner, The Los Angeles Times
"For the readers still waiting for a substantive follow-up to Naomi Klein's No Logo, this is the book....[B]y the end, readers should be able to spot certain youth demographics and deconstruct their branded worlds...with empathy and anger." Publishers Weekly
"Quart's style is smart and sassy...a frightening and important book." Women's Review of Books
"[A] fascinating, highly readable, cultural study....Branded succeeds at exactly what the companies it chastises can only dream of: multigenerational approval." The New York Post
"A fascinating and provocative study of modern-day consumerism...[that] effectively capture[s] the almost-arcane realities of modern-day teenage life." Bookpage
"This is an extremely important topic for anyone interested in understanding the modern American teenager." The Seattle Times
"Quart excels in capturing the chirpy, soulless avarice that tends to characterize today's hyper-predatory kiddie-peddlers." The Washington Post Book World
"Deserves to command wide attention among millions of families....Quart makes a brilliant case...[and] her book is a necessary warning for parents." The New York Times
"An empowering work...a tough-minded call to arms." Boston Globe
"Quart seamlessly weaves within her cultural criticism and warnings an extremely insightful analysis of the transformation of youth social movements." The Nation
"Quart has Gen X sensibilities that enable her to skeptically dissect the intentions of Madison Avenue as teens are mined and manipulated." Santa Fe New Mexican
, 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.
About the Author
Alissa Quart is a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia School of Journalism. She has written for the New York Times, Lingua Franca, Elle, The Nation, and Salon. She lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Branded 3
Chapter 2 From the Mall to the Fall: The Teen Consultants 17
Chapter 3 Peer-To-Peer Marketing 37
Chapter 4 The Golden Marbles: Inside a Marketing Conference 47
Chapter 5 The Great Tween Marketing Machine 63
Chapter 6 Cinema of the In-Crowd 77
Chapter 7 More Than a (Video) Game 97
Chapter 8 Body Branding: Cosmetic Surgery 113
Chapter 9 X-Large and X-Small 129
Chapter 10 Logo U 143
Chapter 11 Almost Famous: The Teen Literary Sensations 165
Chapter 12 Unbranded 189
Chapter 13 DIY Kids 203
Chapter 14 Schools for Sale 215