Teachin’ Em Right

You gotta get ‘em while their young. You know, because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So if you get them while they’re young, you got them forever. And how exactly do you hook them in? Well, Sawyer said “kids are like dogs—you knock them around enough they start to think they did something to deserve it.” I’m not talking about child abuse or anything else along those lines. It’s an analogy, so just relax. If you start them off young, and you do it repeatedly, infiltrate their lives with what you want them, soon they do these things on their own… for life. I’m talking about making consumers out of kids through television and other media.

This is not to say that today’s youth, or millennials, are pulled and then locked into a consumerism dungeon. Instead, millennials consider themselves to be knowing consumers that understand when and what they are being sold something. The way to appeal to this group of savvy young buyers is through cross-platforming, because just having a TV show with product placement and advertisement does not cut it anymore. They have grown up in an “environment of digitextuality” (Ross: 139) and therefore know, how to bypass these.

Here is where Gossip Girls comes in. Beyond Verizon cellphone services, this show sells a fast paced lifestyle of texting, fashion, city glamour and sin. Yes, we saw some of this with Sex and the City, but now it has taken the shape of a teen drama.. This is key: the shows characters are affluent millennials. So when this generation watches the show, they are seeing themselves in a world they can either relate or aspire to. So when every student in the graduating class of Constance Billard’s phone goes off with the lastest Gossip Girl text, millennials know the feeling all too well and reach for their own BlackBerry’s to see who has BBM’ed them. They have grown up with advertising and high-speed fiber optic cables, they have smartened up and want something that speaks to them on multiple levels.Speak to them with OMFG and WTF’s.

1 thought on “Teachin’ Em Right

  1. Josh Aichenbaum

    I agree that Gossip Girl understands and molds its creative product to the tastes of a younger generation. I would take the knowing consumer discussion in paragraph 2 a bit further and add that many GG regular customers watch mainly to see what the characters are wearing. Some may watch in hopes of buying or manufacturing similar ware, while others gossip about this red dress or that mauve jacket to gain pleasure through consumerist interaction that does not involve actual spending, but instead spiritual, vicarious spending.

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