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Retailers Embrace Self-Centered, Materialistic Girls With Webcams

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Although it can't hold a candle to the comments, teen hauler videos are still one of the most objectionable aspects of YouTube. Privileged, parentally-funded teen girls follow up a day's shopping "haul" by parading their purchases in front of a webcam. The arrogance and materialism that should have been contained within Bieber-clad bedroom walls is now open for the world to see.

And retailers wouldn't have it any other way.

Andrea Chang of the Los Angeles Times reported a growing trend among fashion chains to reward the teen haulers who show off their brands on YouTube with discounts, free merchandise, and even shopping sprees. JCPenney, Marshalls, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters are some of the foster parents to this consumer greed. Chang described the offer given to 14-year-old Bethany Mota:

"In June, JCPenney flew her and five other haulers from around the country to Texas and gave each girl gift cards worth $1,000 to shop the department store's back-to-school selection.

After the shopping spree, the girls were required to record their own haul videos, which JCPenney posted on its website and on Facebook and YouTube."

Marketing experts like Portnoy Group's Eli Portnoy recognize the benefits of the free, grassroots advertising. He told the Times, "What better way to reach your customers than from what seems to be independent voices saying 'I love these products and I love these stores'? Instead of you promoting your products, they're doing it for you."

And the only cost is another generation of vapid consumerists who believe material goods are a measure of one's worth!

Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer at JCPenney, related his warped outlook. "It's the perfect marriage of two of Gen Y's favorite things: technology and shopping."

A quote that invokes the perfect marriage of two of Generation X's favorite things: cynicism and utter disdain.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.