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The Merchants of Cool (full documentary) | Marketing and Selling to America’s Teens | FRONTLINE

2 Views· 03/22/24
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FRONTLINE examined the tactics, techniques and cultural ramifications of marketing moguls targeting teenagers. (Aired 2001)

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By 2001, when “The Merchants of Cool” was first released, teenagers had become the hottest consumer demographic in America — spending $100 billion and influencing their parents to spend another $50 billion. The documentary explored how the creators and sellers of popular culture targeted this coveted demographic: They spent their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conducted surveys and focus groups. They combed the streets, schools and malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that would snare the attention of teenagers.

The documentary included interviews with top marketers, media executives and cultural and media critics, and explored the symbiotic relationship between the media and teens, as each looked to the other for their identity. “The Merchants of Cool” explored whether the marketers were simply reflecting teen desires or whether they manufactured those desires in a bid to secure the lucrative teen market.

“The Merchants of Cool” was directed by Barak Goodman, produced by Goodman and Rachel Dretzin and written by Dretzin. Douglas Rushkoff was the correspondent and consulting producer. David Fanning was the executive producer of FRONTLINE.

Explore additional reporting related to "The Merchants of Cool" on our website:
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/front....line/documentary/sho

#Documentary #Advertising #Marketing

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FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, Park Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.

CHAPTERS:
00:00 - Market Researchers Study Teen Culture
13:04 - How Entertainment Companies Market to Teens
21:35 - Media Stereotypes Sold to Teen Boys and Girls
41:20 - Packaging Controversial Music for Mainstream Culture
51:05- Credits

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