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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Corporate pedophilia" and your children
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,...
Published on February 23, 2003 by Malvin

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, but not totally engaging
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...
Published on January 17, 2005 by J. A. Brown


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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Corporate pedophilia" and your children, February 23, 2003
By 
Malvin (Frederick, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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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. The end result is a hyper-competitive, anxious and debt-ridden generation of youths who collectively are getting locked into the cycle of labor and consumption at a significantly earlier age than their predecessors.
It may be true that Ms. Quart's work depends heavilly on observations drawn from the ranks of upper middle-class society, but she has impressively succeeded in describing a phenomenon that has largely eluded others. The reader is impressed by the author's ability to synthesize scholarly research, pop culture, business information, anecdotes and first-person interviews to make her case. In short, this is original and cutting-edge research that should give inquisitive readers much to ponder.
I recommend this book to parents of teenagers (like myself) who want to understand more about the brave new world their children are inhabiting as well as to teenagers who want to critically deconstruct and reclaim their branded selves.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Seduction of America's Youth, February 19, 2003
By 
Mark D. Wolfinger (Evanston, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, but not totally engaging, January 17, 2005
By 
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Seduction of the Innocent, March 16, 2003
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and Disturbing Take on a Rather Tired Argument, September 23, 2004
This review is from: Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers (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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting examination of consumer culture, April 18, 2004
By A Customer
Quart does an excellent job of disecting the corporate world's exploitation of children and teenagers. This book could have been just another indictment against advertising, but Quart examines multiple aspects of brand-mania. I especially liked how she includes a chapter on "brand-name" colleges and universities (this is not just about sneakers and jeans, folks). I do have a few criticisms. As some other reviewers pointed out, she mostly interviews upper class teens. Young folks who can't afford to buy Gucci and Prada won't see themselves in this book. Quart also engages in some rather insulting handwringing over the poor innocent children. The chapter on teen authors is especially illustrative of this condenscending mindset. It's clear that Quart believes that it is wrong for a 17 year old to commoditize him/herself in order to sell books, but does that mean that it is okay for a 37 year old to do the same thing? Adults, including parents, have embraced consumer culture. Quart's own interviews reveal this multiple times, yet she confines her analysis to the politically safe idea that teens are unique in their immersion in brand culture. Despite the moral panic tone, I recommend this book for Quart's dissection of consumerism and how it has penetrated so many aspects of our lives.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, July 21, 2006
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This review is from: Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers (Paperback)
The premise of this book seemed very appealing to me. I have always been very opinionated about "Branding" teenagers, and while in high school I refused to wear well known brand-name clothes.

However, once I got into actually reading the book, I was very dissapointed. Quart seemed, at least to me, to merely skim the surface of the problem, filling the pages with statistics and endless lists of numbers but not really pulling much meaning out of any of it.

It also seemed to me that she focused most of her attention on the "rich" kids. I feel that a comparison between priviledged and average teenagers, even severely underpriviledged teens, would have made the book much more interesting. It got especially frustration for me when I reached the chapter titled "Logo U" because (my being fresh out of highschool) I felt that she was exaggerating, or else obviously not expanding her interviews for children NOT from wealthy families. I never took an SAT course, never bought an expensive SAT book but still did perfectly well on my SATs, and got into several excellent colleges.

I understand that the point she was trying to make was about teens getting the "Logo U"s in their minds and refusing to be denied access to them, but I feel the endless droning about SATs offered nothing to feed that point and just made me try to compare the information to my own experience, with little, if any, success.

I apologize for my review being so unorganized. I am no professional writer myself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nice subject, but could use better writing+editing, February 21, 2008
By 
Mr. T. P. (massachusetts, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers (Paperback)
The book had interesting subject matter, but to be honest, I think the writing had some problems. It had quite a few oddly constructed, awkward sentences, nd typos. 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. I would read a chapter, and think, "What did this have to do with the previous chapter?" I'd recommend reading "No Logo" by Naomi Klein instead of this. No Logo is longer and covers a lot more subject matter, but I think it's also better written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elaborate Analysis of Youth Branding, June 22, 2010
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This review is from: Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers (Paperback)
Branding is all about inculcating meaning into the collective mind. Consumption in industrialized nations has led to dynamic branding activities. Advertisers are using sophisticated psychological techniques to create social tribes around their brands. Penetrating influence of the branding machine is enormous and quite effective (if it wasn't, there would be no Madison Avenue). The concept of selling to kids isn't new; the sooner you recognize THEIR needs, aspirations, peer pressure, etc., the sooner THEY will identify your brand as THEIR own. Brands reach deeper into the youth's psyche in order to become almost an intrinsic part of the very fabric of kids' lives. Alissa Quart's book demonstrates accurately the process of creating loyal customers by advertisers. According to a survey of Americans aged 18 to 24, two-thirds cannot find Louisiana on a U.S. map. At the same time our children can perfectly recognize the golden arches.
"Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers" is a well-structured, informative book. Quart's vernacular is plain, clear, and unpretentious. As a professional brand consultant I recognize this book as a significant contribution to the ongoing development of branding discipline.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brand This!, July 6, 2005
By 
HLR (Plum Village) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers (Paperback)
Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart is a quick and fascinating read on the current and constructed intersections between young people, the media and popular culture, corporate agencies, and consumer culture.

What struck me most about Quart's analysis is how RELEVANT it is. Unlike many books published today, the research, reference, and anecdotal material in Branded (published in 2003) is very recent and does not rely too much, or at all really, on the 1990s.

Two shortcomings of the book were the chapter on Self-Branding (I felt Quart could have done more with body piercing, for example) and the last few pages (her final analysis could have been stronger). Despite these weak spots, Quart clearly did her research.

Branded is an interesting and even fun read suitable for parents, teenagers, and educators alike. As a teacher myself, I will definitely refer to it in the future.
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Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers
Branded: The Buying And Selling Of Teenagers by Alissa Quart (Paperback - February 19, 2004)
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