Being an Ideal Consumer

Two articles and two documentaries.
1) The onslaught
Half of all children aged four don’t know their own name – but two thirds of three-year-olds can recognise the McDonald’s golden arches. Jonathan Freedland investigates the multi-million-pound industry intent on turning teenagers and toddlers alike into avaricious consumers
2) Just Say ‘No’
They’re the New Puritans. A generation of young, educated and opinionated people determined to sidestep the consumerist perils of modern life. So if you own a 4×4, spend all your time shopping, or are simply overweight – watch your back. Lucy Siegle meets the moral minority aiming to mend our ways

3) The Persuaders
In “The Persuaders,” FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. The 90-minute documentary draws on a range of experts and observers of the advertising/marketing world, to examine how, in the words of one on-camera commentator, “the principal of democracy yields to the practice of demography,” as highly customized messages are delivered to a smaller segment of the market.
4) The Merchants of Cool
They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the “next big thing” that will snare the attention of their prey–a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year.

They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts–and wallets–of America’s youth?

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