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Youth and Media in “The Merchants of Cool” Movie


The film features, marketers, critics, and media executives analyzing the connection between today’s youth and the media (The merchants of cool). Douglas Rushkoff asserts that there are about 33 million youths in the United States. These youths are exposed to thousands of adverts every day. The executives claim that the youths form the largest demographic consumers. According to them, marketing to the youths presents numerous challenges. They suggest that today’s marketers have to be creative to influence the youth into buying their ideas and products. Thereafter, the film details how multinational companies such as MTV have increased the popularity of Limp Bizkit despite the band’s offensive lyrics. The parties argue whether MTV’s acts of promoting objectionable lyrics are in accordance with the desires of the youths. Based on my experiences, I can affirm that what the executives were saying about the youths is accurate. As a youth, advertisements influence much of what I purchase. As argued above, I believe that marketing to the youths is challenging task because our taste and preferences changes and varies dramatically.

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I believe that the strategies and approaches used by some marketers in targeting the youths have gone too far. As illustrated in the film, today’s youths rely on the media to show them what is cool. The media influences how the youths dress, walk, socialize, or behave. Any individual will not be surprised to note that in some adverts targeting the youths, music and imagery that praises violent behavior and sex, have been employed. I believe that through the above approaches, the media have brainwashed the youths and restricted their thinking.

Based on my analysis, I believe that advertising influences population. If advertisements had no effect on the populations, companies could not spend billions on these acts. For instance, it is estimated that firms in the US spent over $210 billion on advertising. This implies that advertisements influence the population to purchase more of the advertised products. Through adverts, firms can influence how the society should dress, eat, and behave. Equally, I believe that advertisements influence our spending habits. By doing so, advertisements have programmed us in some way. Advertisements have restricted our thinking by influencing our shopping choices. Without advertisements, human beings could be able to come up with shopping choices based on the quality and prices of the products. Currently, shopping choices are reached based on advertisements rather than on quality and prices.

I do not buy no-name brands because I believe that brand-name products have better quality and reputation. Although brand- name products are more expensive compared to no-name brands, most people are willing to spend more for their superiority. Even though some products serve equal purposes, I usually purchase an expensive product for its reputation. With this respect, I believe that brand- name products would enhance my reputation unlike no-name brands.


In the film, viewers are introduced to the Mook and the girl sexpot idea (The merchants of cool). These characters are being employed by the media in their bid to reach to more youths. I believe that through the Mook and Midriff characters, the media have managed to capture the attention of the youths. Teenage girls aspire to be like Midriffs, while teenage boys aspire to be like Mooks. Through this, they have managed to market their gender images and the stereotypes to the youths.

Works Cited

The merchants of cool. Dir. Barak Goodman. Perf. Douglas Rushkoff. PBS Video, 2001. VHS.

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