Picture a room filled with adults talking about you: your likes and dislikes, your needs, your habits, your dreams. Concerned parents? Wrong.

These people are marketing directors. They spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours doing market research to study your spending habits. Why? The answer is simple : money.

Teenagers are the largest-growing market in the world. According to one teen-marketing expert, in 2005, American teenagers will spend $99 billion - $62b of their own money and $37b of their parents'. Companies believe that adults will keep the same consumer habits as they developed as teenagers. And teenagers do have purchasing power.

Shampoos and computers.

In the U.S., one out of nine teenagers has a credit card. By some estimates, teenagers also influence more than $200 billion in sales from shampoo to personal computers. Therefore, it is vital for companies to capture the young consumer before the competition does. "How do we appeal to teenagers?" is an essential question for those with something to sell.

Television is the most powerful medium for advertisers targeting teens. MTV has over 200 companies, from Levi Strauss and Reebok to Apple computers, paying top dollars to advertise on their prime-time programmes.

Portrait of a segment.

The New York advertising agency BSB Worldwide recently videotaped the bedrooms of teenagers in 25 countries. Their goal? To find out what the "global teenager" is like. The videotapes revealed remarkable similarities: the same jeans, the same sneakers, the same posters of music and sports stars on the walls. What interests ad agencies such as BSB Worldwide? Not only what you buy, but also what music you listen to, what movies you go to, what you do in your leisure time. They know more about you than you think, and are very good at manipulating your actions and influencing your decisions.

Teenagers, watch out! Your lifestyle is being studied. Whether you are setting or following trends, marketers everywhere are eagerly watching you, ready to react. And preparing to sell you more, more, more

Speakeasy Magazine, Sept 2000

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