Merchants of Cool

The film “The Merchants of Cool” was interesting (and sometimes entertaining) to watch. The title of this film explains it all, the marketing of teens striving to be “cool”. It is very obvious that it is very out-dated, however not much has changed since then except the fads, music, clothing trends, products, and etc. All of this of course is expected to change very quickly over time.

Teens are still in a way “brain-washed” into advertisements. I do honestly think they were pretty dead on about advertisers targeting teenagers. I do not think they were unfair on either side of the spectrum, advertisers or teenagers. They make their argument very persuasive by actually showing the viewer the process of marketing to teenagers. The companies have their workers to go and look for trend-setters. They find popular, confident, ordinary high school teenagers and pay them to talk about what they like and their interest. They also receive their opinions on different products.

I think advertisers target teenagers because they are trying to “find themselves” and where they fit in with the world. They are misguided in to believing that it is reality and how they are suppose to be. The film explains how television shows like MTV are nothing more than a huge advertisement. I never looked at MTV that way, but when I thought about it, I could not agree more. Take for an example, most of MTV is showing music videos, which is trying to ultimately sell the music. The reality shows that come on that MTV are everything but reality, it is all phony and giving teens the wrong impression of how life should be led. Movies are more violent and sexual, causing teens to have the false perception that this is how everyone is.

Advertisers are very smart people and know exactly how to get teenagers drawn in. One thing that they know is that teenagers like to feel a part of something bigger than themselves and this is how many advertising goes on today. I do understand and agree when they say marketing to teenagers “drags the culture down”, however I believe this can be reversed. If the market decides to promote classier teenagers then America’s teens would be classier. Of course, this is ideal. These companies revolve around a teenager’s money, not the teenager.