The Merchants of Cool by Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman delves into the phenomenon of pop culture and its influence on teenagers. Correspondent Douglas Rushkoff interviews market researchers about the way they find the latest teen trends from music to television shows to fashion.
Since teenagers spend over a billion dollars each year, marketers want to know what these consumers are buying. However, trends in “coolness” have increasingly promoted sexualised and antisocial themes in adolescent culture. This poses the question of whether teenagers are driving the market trends, or the market trends are driving what teenagers want.
The film’s deep dive into the changing fads of adolescent consumerism highlights how influential popular culture can be for teenagers who are trying to find themselves. Marketers are left to wonder if their influence is starting to do more harm than good.