The “Branded” Generation
By Bianca Busketta
Echo boomers of the world unite, for you have nothing to lose but your Levi’s! The Echo Boomers are a new generation that has sprung to life throughout the past 20 years and now make up nearly one-third of the U.S. population. The oldest are barely out of college. They are the “branded” generation.
As a member of this generation, we have grown up mesmerized and force fed brand names. We used to watch McDonald’s commercials and wanted to eat Happy Meals and be friends with Ronald McDonald. Even now, everything is all about a brand name. Generic toilet paper isn’t socially accepted unless it’s a brand like Scott Tissue. We have been brought up to be the world’s best consumers. Instead of spending our money and responsibly paying our bills, we are running out to buy $200 pair of shoes that will become fashionably out of season by the end of the month. With our fast paced lifestyle, we are by passing everything without stopping for a while to enjoy ourselves.
The Echo boomers also live by the “buzz” and the word of mouth. Jane Buckingham of the Intelligence Group states, “Buzz is more important nowadays than it has ever been. And that can get started on the Internet.” I must admit that I scramble to the closest computer during my class breaks to go on websites such as perezhilton.com to check out the latest in celebrity gossip. Whether it is believable or not, it is this information being read and believed by all its viewers. There is no knowledge of whether this information was properly documented. Therefore there is not actual truthfulness behind the information, which is pretty horrifying.
Individualism has also been replaced with teamwork and dependency by the echo boomer generation. Historian Neil Howe, says, “When you ask kids, ‘What do you most hope to achieve there?’ Where they used to say, ‘I wanna be No.1. I wanna be the best.’ Increasingly they’re saying, ‘I wanna be an effective member of the team.’” This seems unsettling. With more teamwork, there will be the lack of leadership. How is our country going to thrive without a strong leadership role? How can we have an effective President of our country for the years to come? We have conformed to society and accepted everything thrown in our way, even if we don’t agree with it. There is no reaction to action anymore. We have become the generation where rules have replaced for rebellion. We are not staging war protests; we are shopping for the latest designer bags and jeans.
Echo boomers have been raised in fear of the consequences--fear of letting our parents down and fear of getting in trouble with the government. There is a lack of individual freedom and expression with rules and the pressures to “fit in” and become average. About five out of 10 echo boomers say they trust the government. With this outstanding evidence, how can change and our current lifestyle occur for the better?
While on the positive side we are advanced in media, technology, and help our economy prosper, on the negative side we are losing our creativity and conforming to what our society and advertisers have to say. We are becoming the stereotypes of what we see on television. And while it is hard to not be brainwashed with advertisements every second of the day, it is important to at least acknowledge this problem we are dealing with, to shed our skin of some of these material possessions, and show our individuality to the world.