Teens do live not in a geographic place but in a global consumer loop
Inflated by rhetoric like this, the image of the global teen floats over the planet like a euphoric corporate hallucination. These kids, we are repeatedly told, live not in a geographic place but in a global consumer loop: hot-linked from their cellular telephones to Internet newsgroups; bonded together by Sony Playstations, MTV videos and NBA games. The most extensive and widely cited study of the global teen demographic was conducted in 1996 by the New York-based ad agency DMB&B's BrainWaves division. Th "New World Teen Study" surveyed 27,600 middle-class fifteen- to eighteen-year-olds forty-five countries and came up with some resoundingly good news for the agency’s clients, a list that includes Coca-Cola, Burger King and Philips.
"Despite different cultures, middle-class youth all over the world seem to live their lives as if in a parallel universe. They get up in the morning, put on their Levi's and Nikes, grab their caps, backpacks, and Sony personal CD players, and head for school." Elissa Moses, senior vice president at the advertising agency, called the arrival of the global teen demographic "one of the greatest marketing opportunities of all time."
But before the brands are able to sell the same products in the same way all around the world, the teens themselves must identify with their new demographic. For this reason what most global ad campaigns are still selling most aggressively is the idea of the global teen market — a kaleidoscope of multi-ethnic faces blending into one another: Rasta raids, pink hair, henna hand painting, piercing and tattoos, a few national flags, flashes of foreign street signs, Cantonese and Arabic lettering and a sprinkling of English words, all over the layered samplings of electronic music. Nationality, language, ethnicity, religion and politics are all reduced to their most colourful, exotic accessories, converging to assure us, as Diesel president Renzo Rosso does, there is “never an 'us and em,' but simply one giant 'we.'”
As technology takes over more of our work while simultaneously changing us and the way we relate to one another, the people who master the human abilities that are fading all around us will be the most valuable people in our world.
Focus is saying no to 1,000 good ideas.
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