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30 Minutes That Shaped A Generation – The Selling Of Youth Culture – Radio Commercials In The 60s – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

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Something interesting happened around the time of the British Invasion in the early 1960s’; teenagers in America were suddenly discovered to be a massive consumer market. Not that there hasn’t always been a goodly chunk of the population hovering under 30 – it’s just this particular generation, the one that’s come to be known as Baby Boomers, represented an enormous flood of people in that age group. More so than any other generation before it, the Baby Boom Generation was seen as the one group of people who spent the most money, went the most places and bought the most clothes. Not so much the big ticket items (although cars were integral in American life in the 1960s, buying new ones was still in the domain of the relatively few), but lots of small-ticket items which came to be the fodder for an entire genre of Advertising. And because top-40 radio had achieved virtual supremacy of the airwaves during this time, Youth-oriented Advertising was the key ingredient in furthering the goal of a consumer-oriented society. Even if sometimes the products weren’t all that Youth-Oriented (i.e. Beer and Wine and cigarettes), the nudge-nudge/wink-wink that kids smoked and drank was abundantly apparent. For the next 30 minutes, when you hit the play button above, you’ll get a small sampling of what America’s Youth were being hit with, almost non-stop during those heady years of 1964-1969. Of course, youth-oriented Advertising didn’t stop there – it’s carried on as an almost predominant form of selling to this day. And, for the sake of not inducing an overdose, it’s just a 30 minute sampling – it could be for hours. But like anything – a little goes a long way and you may not make it past the 5-minute mark – I don’t blame you. But it got started somewhere – and as clumsy and naive as it sometimes was, it managed to climb right into the collective American psyche and persuade us to part freely with our hard-earned/hard-panhandled/hard-promised dimes and dollars. We’ve never looked back and we never spent more.
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