Cover image for Branded : the buying and selling of teenagers
Branded : the buying and selling of teenagers
Quart, Alissa.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Perseus Publishing, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 239 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5415.33.U6 Q37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HF5415.33.U6 Q37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Author Notes

Lissa Quart is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She has written for many publications including The New York Times, Film Comment, The Nation, Salon, and The Independent (London). She lives in New York City

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

For the readers still waiting for a substantive follow-up to Naomi Klein's No Logo, this is the book. Quart, a former media columnist for the Independent, follows the bread-crumb trail from the Fourth Annual Advertising and Promotion to Kids conference (no joke, unfortunately) to the mechanics of "peer-to-peer marketing," product placement in video games and the ever-escalating parties of the "bar mitzvah showcase." She hones in on teens' delicate self-fashioning and how it's manipulated for profit by adult "teen trendspotters" who insinuate themselves into the lives of "Influencer" teens in order to cop "youth buzz." Quart is brilliant on the world in which teens "obsessed with brand names feel they have a lack that only superbranding will cover over." She gets great quotes in her first-person encounters with her mostly female subjects, giving the book real voice. And Quart's analyses-of teen movies, SAT tutoring (to improve scores and pose college choices as brands), teen SUV ownership and the role of parents-are sharp and funny. Her exploration of how teens internalize and express market logic-through a process of "self-branding" that can include teen boob jobs and kid-produced anorexia Weblogs-is original and striking. The book lacks a broad cultural perspective: most interviewees are white, middle class and female, so it's difficult for Quart to generalize about how American teens and tweens as a whole use money and products to define themselves. Nevertheless, by the end, readers should be able to spot certain youth demographics and deconstruct their branded worlds instantaneously-and with empathy and anger. Agent, Peter McGuigan. (Feb. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Quart brings to readers' attention the disturbing marketing trend that targets and exploits teenagers and their pocketbooks, even using teen consultants for peer-to-peer marketing. The Y Generation is extremely susceptible to brand-name items (even in choosing colleges and cosmetic surgery) because of today's culture, family situations where parents are not home, and most certainly the powerful commercial influence of MTV and the like. US businesses seem to be reducing teens to their lowest common denominator, threatening to sap them of individuality and imagination. Unfortunately, opponents of this trend often react positively but dysfunctionally: "deschooling" (home schooling) has been increasing among teens at an alarming rate. These teenagers say that they can teach themselves what they could learn in college, an absurd claim, particularly in today's globalized world of expanded knowledge. Answers as to what intelligent members of society can do are left to readers, however. Readers of this well-written book might also enjoy Bernard C. Rosen's Masks and Mirrors: Generation X and the Chameleon Personality (CH, Mar'02). ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduate libraries and general readers. M. Y. Rynn University of Scranton

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Chapter 1 Brandedp. 3
Chapter 2 From the Mall to the Fall: The Teen Consultantsp. 17
Chapter 3 Peer-To-Peer Marketingp. 37
Chapter 4 The Golden Marbles: Inside a Marketing Conferencep. 47
Chapter 5 The Great Tween Marketing Machinep. 63
Chapter 6 Cinema of the In-Crowdp. 77
Chapter 7 More Than a (Video) Gamep. 97
Chapter 8 Body Branding: Cosmetic Surgeryp. 113
Chapter 9 X-Large and X-Smallp. 129
Chapter 10 Logo Up. 143
Chapter 11 Almost Famous: The Teen Literary Sensationsp. 165
Chapter 12 Unbrandedp. 189
Chapter 13 DIY Kidsp. 203
Chapter 14 Schools for Salep. 215
Afterwordp. 225
Indexp. 233