Bombarded Consumers: Youth
Relentlessly pursued by advertisers, incessantly targeted by the media and at the forefront of every single major promotional campaign going, in a crowded marketplace attracting the attention of young people and compelling them to put their hand in their pocket and paying money for the latest must-have item is of paramount importance. However, consumer societies and associations the world over seem content to neglect and dismiss the thoughts and opinions of this highly-sought yet largely silent section of the purchasing population.
From a very young age, children are subjected to a barrage of adverts and promotional material that leads them to harassing their parents into buying the latest toy, gadget or must-have electronic device. Their parents, in order for their children not to feel left out, succumb to their offspring’s demands and, despite knowing that the product in question will probably end up gathering dust in their child’s bedroom within days, continue to indulge and give in to their son or daughter’s consumer needs. As children grow into young adults, this vicious cycle never breaks. If anything, with the advent of social media and their chronic addiction to sites such as Facebook and Twitter, youths today not only find themselves struggling to keep up with their peers, but with celebrities predilection for selfies and vine videos cluttering up their pages and timelines, young people these days have no qualms about spending all of their savings or a whole month’s wage packet on buying the latest product endorsed by reality TV starlets or hot shot footballers. From copying their clothes to their hairstyles and tattoos, it seems that young people today will stop at absolutely nothing to look like their favourite celebrity – even if it means crippling themselves financially. But who needs savings and pension plans in the age of David Beckham and the Kardashians?
Nights out on the town bring their own financial woes. With limited entertainment options available locally, young people today – already under pressure from their peers to appear cool and financially solvent – must pay exorbitant prices for drinks in bars, clubs and pubs when buying multiple rounds of drinks for their friends. As bringing your own bottle on a night out is strictly forbidden – not to mention illegal and seriously uncool – youths today must pay whatever price is decreed by bar owners for their alcoholic beverages.
Exploiting young people’s vulnerability, insouciance and lack of perception in an uber consumeristic society has now become common practice. Will society persist in taking advantage of them? Are they happy with the way the marketplace is treating them? Do they want a change? Or do they just care about blending in with their peers by buying the latest must-have gadget, copying their favourite celebrity’s hairstyle and not standing out from the crowd?
The customer is always right is an old adage that has been repeated ad nauseum, but does this hold true when the consumer cannot tell – or refuses to tell – right from wrong?