Selling Cool at Any Cost

PBS Frontline calls them Merchants of Cool. The multinational media conglomerates wielding sophisticated marketing techniques against the fragile emotional and psychlogical worlds of children. Child psychologists on the payroll. Hired guns.

Ruthless and calculated procedures proven in the lab. How to hook a child. How to turn her or him into a compulsive shopping addict for life. How to manipulate the subconscious. How to program a child to become completey obsessed with their physical appearance.

"They [the advertising agencies] look at the teen market as part of this massive empire that they're colonizing. You should look at it like the British empire or the French empire in the 19th century. Teens are like Africa."--Robert McChesney, Merchants of Cool

"The corporate sponsors and the mass media now set the agenda, and this has a lot to do with the general way in which they have tended to appropriate all of the common spaces of life.

You know, nobody really goes outside to play anymore. College students, for example, tend now to be marvelously cocooned in their dorm rooms. They're online.

Now, the young tend to be presented always and everywhere with what is, in a way, the most seductive thing there is, and that's a mirror. There's a mirror held up to them all the time.
It's the mirror as constructed by advertising and TV, but it's the mirror that tells you that you are all there is to be, or you could be, if you bought what we have to sell." --Mark Caspin-Miller, Communications Professor, NYU.


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