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The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950$
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Patrick Jamieson and Daniel Romer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342956.001.0001

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Understanding the “Jackpot Market”

Understanding the “Jackpot Market”

Media, Marketing, and the Rise of the American Teenager

(p.27) 1 Understanding the “Jackpot Market”
The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950

Bill Osgerby

Oxford University Press

Advertisers and marketers identified American teenagers as a new “jackpot market” in the 1950's, given its size (15-million-strong) and spending power (estimated at over $9 billion a year in 1958 and increasing to $14 billion by 1965). The baby-boom generation was more likely to attend high school and college, and the U.S. became the largest consumer-oriented economy in the world. Youth consumer-spending included fashion, grooming products, cars, and sporting goods, the promotion of which in advertising led to a form of “youthful hedonism” not heretofore seen on this scale. The musical genre of “Rock and Roll” emerged and tapped into the interests and spending power of the new “teen” market. The new market and associated cultural effects expanded to other parts of the globe, with lasting changes in the way that youth are portrayed and considered in the modern economy.

Keywords:   adolescent, teenager, youth, media, hedonism, American history, cultural history

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