BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : MARCH 8, 1999 ISSUE
READERS REPORT

To Be Young, Insulted, and Misrepresented


I found the chart comparing ''Cool Stuff'' according to boomers and Gen Y to be a mismatch (''Generation Y,'' Cover Story, Feb. 15). The authors [Ellen Neuborne and Kathleen Kerwin] are really showing differences between young and old. A more appropriate comparison would be between the boomers when they were 5 to 20 years old and the current generation of young people. The age factor covers up how the generations might be different. For example, the car preferences. What young person would select a Lexus? This might as well be a comparison between someone with a healthy income and one with a part-time job. Duh! Another example is Harrison Ford vs. Leonardo DiCaprio. I don't believe that Mr. Ford has done any movies that would give competition to the Scream viewing market.

Tina Lee
Houston


Wow, I got to thank you two ladies for your article. Until now, I've never been this insulted in my life. Who did you get your information from, anyway? One of the actors on the Warner Brothers network perhaps? Come on, the WB. I actually hate TV. None of my friends agree with it either. Generation Y, as you so ignorantly put it, is not all the same type of people. Not one thing you listed as something that Generation Y likes or calls ''Cool Stuff'' (shudder) have I seen anyone agree with. I'm 18, so I like to think I'm included in this li'l group. So please, next time you guys want to do a seven-page article on an entire generation...don't.

Eric Holodnak
Parma Heights, Ohio


It's quite lovely how your subhead (''The boomers' 60 million kids are poised to remake the brand universe'') transfers human agency in the charade of generational marketing from the advertisers to the targets and victims. The article, though, tells us quite a bit about the grossly manipulative nature of marketers, who are using the Internet to reach into the wallets, hearts, and minds of children for profit.

Your heroic ad men are with Universal Studios, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's, employing ''street teams'' talking to teens about everything from fashion to finance. Other marketers are trying to ''build grassroots support for their brands.'' Your article includes a special blurb on the self-satisfied yuppie entrepreneur who blessed the human race with Delia's Catalogue for teenage girls. He's about to go after boys and told BUSINESS WEEK, get this: ''We are going to own this generation.''

I love it. Please do not cancel my subscription. As a longtime radical who is always looking for frank statements of tyrannical corporate values and behavior, I find your magazine to be an unrivaled primary source.

Paul Street
Professor of History
Northern Illinois University
De Kalb, Ill.


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