Merchants of Cool
Teenagers in America have a great deal of disposable income; in fact, it is approximately a $150 billion market. Marketers are focusing on teenagers more than any other group to market products to. Marketers conduct focus groups to study the culture of teenagers. There are approximately 32 million teenagers in America, the largest generation of teenagers ever. The amount of money they spend makes some say “teens run today’s economy.” One reason that teenagers have some much disposable income is from guilt money, the money that their parents give them because they cannot spend as much time with them. Teens today also have a great deal of access to media and technology.
The difference between teens and other demographics is that they do not respond to brands the way that other groups do. They do, however, respond to cool. The problem for marketers is that cool is always changing. Marketers have coined the term ‘cool hunting’ to try to find out what cool is at any given moment. When marketer discover what is cool and promote it to the public, the trend saturates the market at which point cool moves on and changes.
The thing that caught my attention is how Sprite became the fastest growing soft drink of our time. Sprite has tried to ‘smuggle’ messages to teens in ways other than the typical media promotions and commercials. I was not aware that Sprite was doing this type of marketing. The company gets teens to log into chat room posing as fans to promote their products and gets freshman to throw parties to pass out their promotional material. This would have been a great opportunity when I was a teen. I also find it interesting how Sprite has linked up with hip hop culture.
Additionally in the video:
Furthermore, a very important concept is don’t let your marketing show. This concept is illustrated through the history of MTV. Wrestling is the most popular sport among teenage males today. This helps advertisers sell products. It is interesting that the video considers the marketing to be bring down teens, both male and female, to sell their products. The video also discusses Brittany Spears, and shows like Cruel Intentions, and Dawson’s Creek to illustrate how sex sells. It also discusses Limp Biscuit, rage rockers with some commercial engineering.
It is important to note that this video first aired in 2001. Some of the things discussed in the video may have changed by now.
Rachel Dretzin. “The Merchants of Cool.” PBS.org. 27 February 2001. Web. 22 April 2014.