Week 8: Teens voices in the world of Marketing and Social Media.

Marketing companies, Social Media platforms and Ads via real life or virtual have found a way to bring their products to the public eyes. The public in this case are the teens who are trend setters or who will possibly buy the products more than their parents. Teens are the voice these companies look for to successfully sell the product like the IPhones. Why are teens such an important part of marketing or youth companies? Because they share an insight on what is cool and what is not.

Frontline: Merchants of Cool, a documentary made in 2001 is meant to show listeners how much teens do affect the marketing strategies of MTV or Sprite. Frontline: Generation Like, a documentary made in 2014 explores the effects of social media on teens lives. In Merchants of cool documentary teens are thought to spend most of their free time watching television, while the teens in Generation Like are said to spend most of their time on YouTube or Social Media sites like Facebook or Instagram. This is how companies market. They use what teens find interesting and try to make it work for them. In both documentaries, there is an outlet like music or T.V and there is a level of cool that has to resonate with teens or they lose interest.

The time difference between these two documentaries is outstanding because social media wasn’t a big thing as it is now. Teens have always wanted to be liked, but 2001 being liked meant having a group of people who have the same taste in music or T.V shows. While being liked in 2016 means being online famous and having followers that can amount to a million people. Not all teens are the same, but they can go through the same things like puberty or first loves.

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In my interviews with teens, I found out that Netflix is popular because it has become a way to binge watch T.V shows on their own time. In Generation Like, it was said, “Companies turn likes into money,” and this is what Netflix has become. Netflix’s free reign of shows can be turned into money by what teens watch. It can also be promoted through teen groups. Some teens like to watch what is cool on Netflix and they will talk about it amongst other teens. Although Netflix is not just for teens as MTV was it is an activity that they use as an outlet as well as to share on their social media platforms. Social media is another topic that teens are often discussed in conjuction with. Social media is a presence online and companies have realized they can profit from the teens online presences. I don’t find this comforting because teens deserve to be treated like an equal not like dollar signs but sadly that is what is happening. YouTube is one of the ways celebrities like Justin Bieber have become famous. He rose to fame singing on YouTube but soon after that Justin Bieber was a profit for teenage girls. The interviews and documentaries shed light on how much social media is used as a tool in an effort to sell. I don’t agree with using teens to sell products because while they do buy most things, they aren’t reliable. They always want the next new thing and can drop even a new product fast.

 

Everything is shared more with the world what they go through instead talking among your friends and family. What they feel with low self-esteem due to not having enough likes is scary because it feels like it’s becoming a threat to keeping teens mentally stable. Confidence in oneself can come from knowing their worth or having someone help them understand they are still worthy even though they do not have enough likes. Teens are complicated people and they go through so much in any year. They are just figuring out who they are. It’s a hard but rewarding journey.

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3 thoughts on “Week 8: Teens voices in the world of Marketing and Social Media.

  1. You made a great point that companies “use what teens find interesting and try to make it work for them”. Companies are not trying to give teens what they want, they are trying to convince teens that what they are selling IS what they want. I was also interested in your comment that being liked in 2014 means being “online famous”. I found that a fascinating point the documentary made, that teens don’t associate fame with having a skill or doing something noteworthy, you can be famous for being famous. It was so funny how kids at the skate park were asking the skateboarding youtuber not if he was a good skateboarder or an actor, but if he was “famous”.

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  2. “Teens have always wanted to be liked, but 2001 being liked meant having a group of people who have the same taste in music or T.V shows. While being liked in 2016 means being online famous and having followers that can amount to a million people.”

    I agree completely with this statement. I think we can easily say that it’s a universal thing that teens want to feel accepted and it really doesn’t matter what decade they grow up in. Perhaps in 2001, the concept of being accepted or “like” entails sharing the same taste in music or TV/movies. In 2016, they chase after “likes” or “followers” online because to them, this allows them to be accepted. This obsession over having the most likes or having the most followers is this generation’s version of gaining fame and recognition. This is important because companies are aware of and take advantage of this to use the concept of “sponsorship” to market their products.

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    1. Isn’t it sad how companies take advantage? Although I understand what it feels like to want to be accepted I wouldn’t stake it all on followers. Followers are fickle, even loyalty is fickle these days. I wish more teens understood loving yourself is the road to acceptance.

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