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FRONTLINE
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A report on the creators and marketers of popular culture for teenagers
THE MERCHANTS OF COOL
arrowWhat Teens Think
about FRONTLINE's report
arrowSome Themes in This Report
The symbiotic relationship; the media giants; what's this doing to kids?
arrowInterviews
With media executives, market researchers, cultural critics
arrowMedia Giants
What do these powerhouses control?
arrowJoin the Discussion

arrowWatch The Full Program Online
arrowTour This Landscape
arrowHow To Get Really Close to Teens' Lives
arrowHow to Get Really Close to Teens' Lives
arrowWhat's It Like Hunting for Cool?
arrowEminem's Grammy
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view online · what teens think · themes · interviews · media giants · discussion
landscape · inside trl · getting close · cool hunting · eminem
synopsis · douglas rushkoff · producers · tapes & transcripts · press · credits
FRONTLINE · wgbh · pbs online

photo ©joel page
web site copyright 1995-2008 WGBH educational foundation

The Merchants of Cool

FRONTLINE journeys into the world of the marketers of popular culture to teenagers. They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey - a market segment worth an estimated $300 billion a year. They are the merchants of cool: the creators and sellers of popular culture, who have made teens the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are these marketers merely reflecting a growing coarseness in teen culture, or have they helped create it? Are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts - and wallets - of America's youth?

published feb. 2001; last updated nov. 2002

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