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Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers Paperback – February 17, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738208620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738208626
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Branded is a cogent wake-up call." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Quart is brilliant." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

More About the Author

I am the author of Republic of Outsiders. I also wrote Branded and Hothouse Kids. I write features and reported opinion pieces, most recently for The New York Times, Newsweek, O Magazine, The Nation, Reuters and New York. You can read some of them at alissaquart.com or follow me on Twitter @lisquart. I was a 2010 Nieman fellow at Harvard and am a contributing editor at CJR. I have also taught at Columbia Journalism School and my poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books, The Awl and other publications.

Customer Reviews

Even though it was first published in 2003, some of it seemed to be out of date already.
Lisa Myers
It sort of seemed like a "first book," like Quart could polish her writing a bit more. oSome parts also seemed a little bit meandering, lacking a cohesive plan.
Mr. T. P.
I personally found her writing style a bit stilted, and it seems like there is a lot of information and many observations, yet not so much in-depth analysis.
J. A. Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on February 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alissa Quart's "Branded" explores how America's youth are increasingly subjected to sophisticated but ultimately predatory forms of corporate marketing and branding. While the social reproduction of labor has been defined by capitalist requirements for many years, Ms. Quart amply demonstrates that the co-optation of today's youth has deepened and intensified. For many, the immersion in consumerism is so all-encompassing that it threatens to corrupt and corrode their mental self-images and possibly inhibit their ability to function as enlightened citizens.
Ms. Quart shows that the marketing tactics used are often invasive and unscrupulous, amounting to a sort of "corporate pedophilia" whose aim is to grow the corporate bottom line at the expense of childhood itself. Indeed, the author explains that whole classes of products (such as sexually-provocative undergarments designed for pre-teen girls) are unapologetically marketed to ever-younger children, thereby accelerating the pace at which children develop, perceive and interact with their surroundings. Ms. Quart blasts the justifications used by marketers to defend such indefensible actions and alerts us to the moral vacuousness that lies at the heart of the corporate agenda.
Ms. Quart argues that our children bear unmistakable psychological, physical and financial scars from this assault. Media-induced anxiety leads boys to steroid abuse and girls to anorexia; social acceptance is garnered by the flaunting of expensive designer clothes and accessories; class status is predicated by admission to brand-name colleges; and so on.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Wolfinger on February 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alissa Quart describes how America's youth have been successfully targeted with methods today's kids can't resist. In fact, sometimes it is the parents who encourage their children to become 'branded'.
The clothes they demand, the makeup they use, even the colleges they want to attend; all must be brand names. The hard sell is everywhere: magazine and TV ads are the most obvious, but the movies and music videos they watch, even the video games they play feature brand name items in glamorous settings. Our children succumb to the need to be like the movie stars and pop singers.
It is not enough to want to wear the same brands as the stars and models, they crave to be look-alikes. Thus, teenagers are demanding cosmetic surgeries as never before. Craving to be super thin, some resort to starving themselves (anorexia). The girls want liposection and bodily enhancements; the boys want to be more muscular and powerful. Dangerous medications and surgeries are comsumed in ever increasing numbers by our young generation.
This eye-opening book tells the story. No child is too young to be a target.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Brown on January 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Alissa Quart tackles an admirable and potentially fascinating subject in Branded, yet I was left feeling a bit disappointed after finishing the book. I personally found her writing style a bit stilted, and it seems like there is a lot of information and many observations, yet not so much in-depth analysis. The book itself is not extremely long, so there is definitely room for more expansion. There are countless examples of teen branding in movies, fashion, magazines, advertisements, etc., and the author touches on all of these and more, but somehow the book felt more like a bombardment of information than a nuanced analysis. I had pretty high expectations when I read this book (especially from the many positive editorial reviews available), but it was ultimately not as satisfying an experience as I would have hoped.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In accessible, often witty prose, Quart shows the corrupting effect that the conscienceless pursuit of profit by corporate marketers has on everything from young girls' body images or young boys'understandings of what it means to be masculine, to the complaisant administrations of public schools. "Seduction of the innocent" is not too strong a term to apply to the corporate behavior that Quart describes; though happily she also focuses on the ways in which many young people have begun to resist being "branded." As an account of the impact of corporatism on daily lives, this book belongs on the shelf next to Naomi Klein's No Logo. It will only not appeal to those who make a living exploiting young people; most others will find it a revelation.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Weaver on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found it to be an excellent read, and I'm considering using some excerpts from it to spark writing and discussion in a basic writing class that I teach--a class where I'm always concerned that the readings I use are immediate, accessable and read well.

Although the book's subject is the way that companies market to teenagers, in a sense this is only a subset of the author's larger concern with capitalism and consumer culture. She obviously has a left wing take on this subject, although I disagree with earlier reviewers that her presentation is manipulative or unfair. The issue isn't whether or not companies fill a demand (obviously, they do), but about the lengths to which they go to create that demand. How you feel about this obviously depends on your politics, but Quart's viewpoint seems to me to be reasonable and valid.

My problem is that this argument is just sort of tired. I'm just bored of hearing the same critique of "consumer culture" over and over again. What sets this book apart, though is its focus on marketing to children, and, in particular, the passages where Quart presents the kids' lives through their own words. It's pretty disturbing to hear how closely they identify their own self-worth with the products that they use. I'm not just talking about the idea that they have to conform to a certain image in order to be beautiful--again, this is old news. But about how the almost BECOME the brand that they use. When a teenager named Carrie, a fan of MTV's "Total Request Live" describes her loyalty to that show and to the marketing she does for The Backstreet Boys by saying, "I like the Boys as much as my friends and family"--well, there's something really disturbing about that.
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