Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart, Paperback | Barnes & Noble


3.4 7
by Alissa Quart

View All Available Formats & Editions

An incisive exposé of the underhanded advertising initiatives that target teens-and an exploration of their disturbing consequences.

It's no secret that corporations have always tried to woo teen consumers and currently spend billions of dollars annually to do so. The efforts to relieve kids of their money are pervasive, and not every sales pitch is benign.


An incisive exposé of the underhanded advertising initiatives that target teens-and an exploration of their disturbing consequences.

It's no secret that corporations have always tried to woo teen consumers and currently spend billions of dollars annually to do so. The efforts to relieve kids of their money are pervasive, and not every sales pitch is benign.

In Branded, Alissa Quart takes us to the dark side of marketing to teens, showing readers a disturbingly fast-paced world in which adults shamelessly insinuate themselves into "friendships" with young people in order to monitor what they wear, eat, listen to, and buy. We travel to a conference on advertising to teenagers and witness the breathless and insensitive pronouncements of lecturers there. We meet the unofficial teen "sales force" for a new girls' perfume (the unpaid daughters of the company's saleswomen) and observe the attempts of mega-corporations to purchase the time and space for product-placement in schools. We witness the aggressive and potentially emotionally damaging ways in which adults seek to control vulnerable young minds and wallets. But we also witness the bravery of isolated and increasingly Internet-linked kids who attempt to turn the tables on the cocksure corporations that so cynically strive to manipulate them.

Eye-opening and urgent, Branded exposes and condemns a segment of American business whose high-paid job it is to reduce teens to their lowest common denominator, to systematically sap youth of individuality and creativity. Engaging and thought provoking, Branded ensures that consumers will never look at the American way of doing business in the same way again.

In Branded, author Alissa Quart spotlights the most nefarious of youth marketing techniques, revealing eye-opening facts about the commercialization of today's teens, including:

—31 million teens now spend upwards of $153 billion on leisure expenses—clothing, CDs, and makeup—a year. 55% of American high-school seniors work more than three hours a day to earn the money to fulfill their need for stuff.

—A growing number of high schools are sponsored by corporations. Textbooks regularly mention Oreo cookies and math problems contain Nike logos. Teenagers not only play ball in gyms rimmed with logos but also spend their English classes coming up with advertising slogans for sponsors, all under the auspices of their so-called public schools.

—In the last two years, cosmetic surgery rates for teens have gone from 1% to 3% of the total 4.6 million surgeries performed each year. Teen liposcution has doubled; breast augmentation has increased by almost a third in the last five years.

Author Biography: Alissa Quart is a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia School of Journalism. She has written features for publications ranging from the New York Times and Lingua Franca to Elle, The Nation, and Salon. She lives in New York City.

Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
Help[s] adults psychoanalyze the buying habits of their offspring.
Harvard Business Review
Quart makes a solid case that marketers have honed their approach to teens.
New York Post
[A] fascinating, highly readable, cultural study...Branded succeeds at exactly what the companies it chastises can only dream of: multigenerational approval.
New York Times
Deserves to command wide attention among millions of families...Quart makes a brilliant case...[and] her book is a necessary warning for parents.
The Los Angeles Times
Quart makes it clear that being wary of advertising should be one of those childhood cautions, along with don't talk to strangers, and that it is our job to instruct our children, rather than stand by and wring our hands. She is right: There are people who are hellbent on buying your child's soul for the price of a hip new look. Branded is a cogent wake-up call for both generations. — Karen Stabiner
Washington Post Book World
Quart excels in capturing the chirpy, soulless avarice that tends to characterize today's hyper-predatory kiddie-peddlers.
Publishers Weekly - 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. Agent, Peter McGuigan. (Feb. 1)

Product Details

Arrow/Children S (a Division of Random House
Publication date:

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Branded 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Manirul More than 1 year ago
Nice,,,, Great...!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book, if you can call it a book, is terrible in tring to suggest that all teenagers are affilliated with this issue of being branded. Quart acts as if we are all cattle on the ranch being 'Prodded' with a hot iron on our backsides and being hurled in to the mincer along with our other cattle friends. This book lacks evidence and support for her argument. If u really bored, i still wouldnt suggest you read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This intersesting expository text fails to convince me that all teens and 'tweens' have succumb to the loyalty of Brand icons. She stereotpyes our generation unfarely by generalising us as a whole. Everyone is different, no one is one dimensional. Her selection of details, statistics and quotes allows her argument to be conveyed positivly, but unfortunatly for Quart, she fails to back her argument with reasonable support. However, still an interesting read which may open your mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart will have a lasting impact on the open-minded individual that decides to pick it up and read it. It talks about how society manipulates the youth, bending them to form a masterpiece in their eyes. An example would be a skinny pre-teen female with breast implants, decked out in Abercrombie & Fitch gear and Cover Girl make-up caked on her face. This is what our society has come to, a gigantic makeover of the youth that is spent with their parent's money. According to Alissa Quart, 'The term brand suggests both the ubiquity of logos in today's teen dreams and the extreme way these names now define teen identities.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Does this book define you? This is a great read if you want to find your position in our economy. Alissa Quart states shocking statistics and knowledge that will amaze you. You wouldn't believe how many adolescents are being put to the test to buy and flaunt designer outfits, which amazingly enough set them into categorized groups. There are a sickening number of pre-teens that are dissatisfied with their body and believe it is necessary to change it. Could you imagine spending thousands of dollars on a party for your child? Well, remarkably many parents do spend a tremendous amount as Alissa successfully captures and explains to the public. People are now bowing down to the advertisers and creating their wishes by buying products at any cost.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers was a very impressive book. All of the highlighted points that I made are all realistic and can be related to. Teens and nonetheless children are becoming branded more and ore each day with the help of advertisement. Television, music, books, and influences are the reason for unoriginality by young people. Major companies such as Guess, A&F, Aeropostle, and many others present their models as begin sexy and undressed. In reality, not every child or teen is extremely sexy and thin. As a result of showing off these professional 'characters' young people become intimidated by their own looks, their self-esteem is down in the gutter, and some may even get depressed which can lead to unnecessary surgeries and or eating disorders. Each chapter in this book is headed properly with subheadings to bring out the whole main idea. My favorite chapter is in part two, Self-Branding. This is chapter eight and it talks about cosmetic surgery and happiness through being beautiful. In this certain chapter, statistics are brought out and what `s impressive is that Alissa Quart shares her feelings on being beautiful through your own self-happiness. Self-happiness means being happy with the way God made you and just accepts it. Overall, this is an excellent book that many young people should read and get a glimpse of how you can be your own person and still be happy with the way you are.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.