Ripe for Harvest
Ripe for Harvest chronicles the establishment of the American youth market in the three decades following the end of the Second World War. The arrival of this market segment coincided with the post-war 'baby boom' and what John K. Galbraith characterised as the development of an 'affluent society'. Yet demographic changes and economic prosperity alone did not create the youth market. Markets are uncovered, delineated, promoted, and tested.The first part of the thesis examines the establishment of a youth-market business in the mid-1940s . Seventeen magazine and Eugene Gilbert's youth-market agency played a vital role in selling the idea of youngsters' spending power to wouldbe advertisers. Then follows an evaluation of the National Broadcasting Company's (NBC) attempts to deliver its young listeners and viewers to advertisers.The middle sections describe the techniques used by advertising agencies to sell their clients' goods and services to youngsters. The first case study deals with two marketing classics, Pepsi-Cola's 'Pepsi Generation' and Noxzema's 'Cover Girl' medicated make-up. We then move to an analysis of the J. Walter Thompson (JWT) agency's efforts to exploit the youth market for its major clients. Finally, there is a critique of youth marketing that combined commercial and ethical issues: the sale of cigarettes to youngsters and public-service advertising which attempted to steer youngsters away from delinquency and drug abuse.The final chapter details the implications of youth marketing from social and cultural perspectives. self-appointed social critics feared unscrupulous marketeers had manipulated America's youngsters into becoming unthinking consumers. The thesis argues that the relationship was more ambiguous than this accusation suggested.
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PhD Thesis - University of Auckland
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