What Brands Need to Know About Gen Z to Reach the New Generation of Consumers

How teens today differ from millennials

Gen Z could not be more different from the millennial generation, according to a new study from ad agency Barkley and FutureCast. The problem, though, is that marketers are already mishandling their approach when it comes to reaching and connecting with the next generation of consumers.

Barkley worked with over 2,000 participants for the “Getting to Know Gen Z: How the Pivotal Generation is Different From Millennials” study, comparing new data with information it’s gathered in the past on the millennials. It hopes the results of the study will help brands connect with Gen Z, but also “serve as a road map for understanding the complicated inner workings of teenagers coming of age in the post-digital world.”

The key takeaways about Gen Z are that they want to work for their success, they think equality is “non-negotiable,” they believe brands need to be real, and they have their own “system of rule and etiquette” for social media.

When it comes to success, 69 percent of teens said that any achievements will come form hard work, not luck, compared with 63 percent of millennials and 58 percent of Gen Xers. Fifty-three percent of Gen Zers feel that success is the most important thing, compared with 46 percent of millennials.

“The similarity is that Gen Z is still all digital all the time and all social all the time,” said Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast. “The difference is that Gen Z wants to work hard for their success. They are not counting on any trophies or ribbons for participation.”

Brands should also be aware that “pivotals,” as the report refers to Gen Z, care deeply about human rights and feel that any brand they interact with must make that a priority. According to the study, teens are becoming involved in social activism at an earlier age and because of that want to see more diversity and “real people” in ads compared with other generations.

Finally, when it comes to social media, pivotals spend most time using YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr and Tinder, with some teenagers checking their social media accounts up to 100 times a day. Millennials are more likely to use Facebook on a daily basis (87 percent) compared with 77 percent of Gen Zers.

“They are not going to be spending the same kind of time and energy on Facebook as millennials did,” Fromm said.

So, what exactly do brands need to know so they don’t alienate this up-and-coming generation? Barkley and FutureCast lay out four main points:

  • Shift from playing the hero to playing the supportive role.
  • Support the issues that are at the core of what matters most to teens today.
  • Present reality while allowing pivotals the opportunity to create a unique identity.
  • Utilize various social media platforms to play the right role in pivotals’ curated selves.

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Why We Feel Attached to Our Stuff – A TED-Ed Lesson

From: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2017/01/why-we-feel-attached-to-our-stuff-ted.html#.WNFY4PnyuUk



Why We Feel Attached to Our Stuff – A TED-Ed Lesson

A few years ago I realized that somewhere along the line I started to collect coffee mugs. I never set out to collect coffee mugs, it just kind of happened. Now I have a few favorite mugs that I won’t part with even as I start packing my house (I sold it last month) and have to whittle down my collection. Why do I feel connected to these coffee mugs when plenty of others would hold my morning brew just as well? The answer to that question can be found in the TED-Ed lesson Why Are We So Attached To Our Things?

In this lesson students can learn how Piaget discovered that our feelings of attachment to objects happens at an early age. Students will also learn about the role that culture plays in forming attachments to objects. The video is embedded below and the complete lesson can be found here.

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Letgo Made More Hilariously Weird Ads Where People Just Can’t Let Go of Their Stuff

CP+B adds to its award-winning campaign

Why let go of a winning formula that viewers enjoy, especially when it’s helped your client amass 20 million active users for its marketplace app in less than two years?

This week, CP+B Miami returns with new ads for Letgo that continue the comic stylings of the brand’s Cannes Bronze Lion-winning launch campaign.

As in earlier spots, the work focuses on folks who form sentimental and humorously perilous attachments to various cherished possessions. Ultimately, they find buyers for their stuff using the Letgo app.

Take, for example, the mom in our first clip. She stubbornly clings to her daughter’s rocking-horse chair in the hope of passing it on to her grandchildren. That normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but there’s a big-ass tornado bearing down:

“The challenge was, ‘How do we keep the elements that we feel are working well, while at the same time keep pushing creatively to make sure we’re not just making the same ad over and over?’ ” Jeff Siegel, creative director at CP+B, tells Adweek.

At this point, the approach feels familiar, but not played out. We know a punch line’s coming, but not how it will arrive, and that puts a fresh spin on things. (Really, did you expect those rocking-horse shoppers to touch down in a storm-blown SUV?)

Next, we learn that nothing enhances an avalanche scenario better than an unwieldy shopping-mall arcade game:

“As much as we can, we try to recreate conversations that happen in garages and attics all over America, and just set them in ridiculous scenes,” Siegel says. “But if you dial up the danger too much, it starts to distract from the relationship between the characters. Finding that balance can be tricky.”

The high production values are a plus, and they’re deployed with great aplomb by veteran Hollywood director Craig Gillespie, who helmed previous effects-driven spots for the brand, including one with a memorably dangerous disco ball.

Sometimes, though, fancy-schmancy visuals aren’t required. After all, this stuff isn’t brain surgery. Or is it?

” ‘Hospital’ was actually shot in an abandoned hospital,” Siegel says. “If you close your eyes and imagine how creepy an abandoned hospital is, then add 50 percent, you’ll probably be about halfway to how creepy it really was.”

And what’s the deal with that fictional ab-booster belt?

“It was a pretty nifty contraption made from a weightlifting belt and a paint mixer,” says Siegel. “If you cranked it up it got vibrating pretty fast. I don’t know if it did anything for our actor’s core, but he did say it gave him a little bit of lower back pain.”

Client: Letgo

Agency: CP+B Miami
Chief Creative Officers: Marcos Medeiros, Andre Kassu
Executive Creative Director: Tom Adams
Creative Directors: Jeff Siegel, Alvaro Ramos, Marcelo Rizerio
Copywriters: Luiz Paccillo, Jon Colón, Guy Olson
Art Directors: Mihail Aleksandrov, Carolina Perez-Siam, Samantha Hodian
Group Account Director: Claudia Machado
Account Director: Tammie Degrasse-Cabrera
Content Manager: Cristina Flores
Director of Content Production: Kate Hildebrant
Executive Business Manager: Katherine Graham-Smith
Senior Producer: Ian Kelly
Junior Producer: Jessica Piele

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Craig Gillespie
Producer: Deb Tietjen
Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson

Edit: Exile
Editor: Eric Zumbrunnen
Executive Producer: CL Weaver
Producer: Brittany Carson
Assistant Editor: Ben Insler

VFX/Finishing: EightVFX
Executive Producer: Baptiste Andrieux, Shira Boardman
Head of Production: Juliet Tierney
Producer: Saima Awan
Creative Director: Jean-Marc Demmer
VFX Supervisor: Philip Ineno
Flame Compositor: Paul Heagney
CG Lead: Yann Mallard
CG Supervisor: Aryel Melek-Shalom
VFX Coordinator: Evan Kantor

Telecine: Company 3
Colorist: Siggy Ferstl
Producer: Matt Moran

Sound Design/Mix: Barking Owl Sound
Sound Design/Mixer: Morgan Johnson
Producers: KC Dossett, Ashley Benton

Music: JSM Music
Creative Director: Joel Simon
Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello

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Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

Increasingly, when their parents die, boomers and Gen X’ers will face challenges finding buyers for the possessions

Source: Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

By Richard Eisenberg      Money & Work Editor

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.

The Stuff of Nightmares

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)

Many boomers and Gen X’ers charged with disposing the family heirlooms, it seems, are unprepared for the reality and unwilling to face it.

They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.

— Susan Devaney, The Mavins Group

“It’s the biggest challenge our members have and it’s getting worse,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

“At least a half dozen times a year, families come to me and say: ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’” says financial adviser Holly Kylen of Kylen Financials in Lititz, Pa. The answer: lots of luck.

Heirloom Today, Foregone Tomorrow

Dining room tables and chairs, end tables and armoires (“brown” pieces) have become furniture non grata. Antiques are antiquated. “Old mahogany stuff from my great aunt’s house is basically worthless,” says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation, in Luray, Va.

On PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, prices for certain types of period furniture have dropped so much that some episode reruns note current, lower estimated appraisals.

And if you’re thinking your grown children will gladly accept your parents’ items, if only for sentimental reasons, you’re likely in for an unpleasant surprise.

“Young couples starting out don’t want the same things people used to have,” says Susan Devaney, president of NASMM and owner of The Mavins Group, a senior move manager in Westfield, N.J. “They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”

The Ikea Generation

Buysse agrees. “This is an Ikea and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. “And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”

And you can pretty much forget about interesting your grown kids in the books that lined their grandparents’ shelves for decades. If you’re lucky, you might find buyers for some books by throwing a garage sale or you could offer to donate them to your public library — if the books are in good condition.

Most antiques dealers (if you can even find one!) and auction houses have little appetite for your parents’ stuff, either. That’s because their customers generally aren’t interested. Carol Eppel, an antique dealer and director of the Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association in Stillwater, Minn., says her customers are far more intrigued by Fisher Price toy people and Arby’s glasses with cartoon figures than sideboards and credenzas.

Even charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently reject donations of home furnishings, I can sadly say from personal experience.

Midcentury, Yes; Depression-Era, No

A few kinds of home furnishings and possessions can still attract interest from buyers and collectors, though. For instance, Midcentury Modern furniture — think Eames chairs and Knoll tables — is pretty trendy. And “very high-end pieces of furniture, good jewelry, good artwork and good Oriental rugs — I can generally help find a buyer for those,” says Eppel.

“The problem most of us have,” Eppel adds, “is our parents bought things that were mass-produced. They don’t hold value and are so out of style. I don’t think you’ll ever find a good place to liquidate them.”

Getting Liquid With a Liquidator

Unless, that is, you find a business like Nova Liquidation, which calls itself “the fastest way to cash in and clean out your estate” in the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. Rather than holding an estate sale, Nova performs a “buyout” — someone from the firm shows up, makes an assessment, writes a check and takes everything away (including the trash), generally within two days.

If a client has a spectacular piece of art, Fultz says, his company brokers it through an auction house. Otherwise, Nova takes to its retail shop anything the company thinks it can sell and discounts the price continuously (perhaps down to 75 percent off), as needed. Nova also donates some items.

Another possibility: Hiring a senior move manager (even if the job isn’t exactly a “move”). In a Next Avenue article about these pros, Leah Ingram said most NASMM members charge an hourly rate ($40 to $100 an hour isn’t unusual) and a typical move costs between $2,500 and $3,000. Other senior move managers specializing in selling items at estate sales get paid through sales commissions of 35 percent or so.

“Most of the people in our business do a free consultation so we can see what services are needed,” says Devaney.


8 Tips for Home Unfurnishing

What else can you do to avoid finding yourself forlorn in your late parents’ home, broken up about the breakfront that’s going begging? Some suggestions:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around. “Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,” says Kylen. “That will help sell the stuff.” Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made for the DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can. “We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,” says Fultz. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.

3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal. If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. “It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,” says Buysse.

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted— when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.

4. Get the jewelry appraised. It’s possible that a necklace, ring or brooch has value and could be sold.

5. Look for a nearby consignment shop that might take some items. Or, perhaps, a liquidation firm.

6. See if someone locally could use what you inherited. “My dad had some tools that looked interesting. I live in Amish country and a farmer gave me $25 for them,” says Kylen. She also picked out five shelters and gave them a list of all the kitchen items she wound up with. “By the fifth one, everything was gone. That kind of thing makes your heart feel good,” Kylen says.

7. Download the free Rightsizing and Relocation Guide from the National Association of Senior Move Managers. This helpful booklet is on the group’s site.

8. But perhaps the best advice is: Prepare for disappointment. “For the first time in history of the world, two generations are downsizing simultaneously,” says Buysse, talking about the boomers’ parents (sometimes, the final downsizing) and the boomers themselves. “I have a 90-year-old parent who wants to give me stuff or, if she passes away, my siblings and I will have to clean up the house. And my siblings and I are 60 to 70 and we’re downsizing.”

This, it seems, is 21st-century life — and death. “I don’t think there is a future” for the possessions of our parents’ generation, says Eppel. “It’s a different world.”

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The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better

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A number of new online fashion retailers are capitalizing on consumers’ desires to purchase clothing that lasts. Source: The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better ELIZABETH CLINE  FEB 16, 2016 According to a recent survey commissioned by the British charity … Continue reading

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3 predictions for the future of retail – from the CEO of Walmart

People walk with shopping bags in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 27, 2016.

This is what your shopping experience will look like in the future.

Source: 3 predictions for the future of retail – from the CEO of Walmart

Written by
Doug McMillon   President and CEO, Walmart
This article is part of the World Economic Forum 2017 Annual Meeting https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2017

What will shopping be like in 10 years? No one knows all the details (that’s exciting!), but one thing is for sure: it will be very different than it is today.

History is clear about that. In the mid-19th century, most people in the US were shopping at small markets. They would tell the manager what they wanted, and then wait for the item to be retrieved from the back or from the supplier. After that came the urban department store, supermarkets, then strip malls and discount stores.


Today, the pace of change is rapid. Ten years ago most customers were reading about the original iPhone, and wondering whether it would be useful. Now they expect to order something on their mobiles, have it delivered or pick it up in store – often on the same day, in a few hours, or even in a few minutes.

It’s up to retailers to adapt to these changes – and in some areas even lead the way – or they’ll fall behind and disappear.

Here’s what customers can expect their shopping experiences to be like 10 years from now:

1. Customer empowerment and even greater influence

Customer satisfaction has always been the number one goal for retailers, and in the future, customers will be more empowered than ever to drive the change they want, as they get more control over their shopping experience.

Technology – the internet, mobile and analytics – is being used to do anything and everything a customer doesn’t want to. Customers want to explore. But they need to have easy access to items they choose to use all the time. The historic trade-off between price and service has been altered by technology and customers expect to save time and enjoy the experience while saving money. They’ll fulfill their everyday needs – items like laundry detergent, paper, light bulbs, grocery staples and shampoo – in the easiest way possible through a combination of stores, e-commerce, pick-up, delivery and supported by artificial intelligence. Customer desires – think emerging fashion, fresh produce, and items they’ve never seen before – will still be fun to explore in stores as well as with technology (think virtual reality).

Retailers that provide a truly unique, enjoyable experience and prepare their associates to provide excellent service will have the advantage. At Walmart we already see the value customers place on personalization and convenience, through our success with grocery pick-up and delivery in several markets around the world.

Image: Walmart

With the growth of the internet of things, customers will enjoy an increasingly connected or “smart” shopping experience through a network of connections linking the physical and digital worlds into an ecosystem of devices, including vehicles, stores and software. The internet of things, drones, delivery robots, 3D-printing and self-driving cars will allow retailers to further automate and optimize supply chains too. Both sides of the equation – demand and supply – will change dramatically.

In addition, customers will continue to demand transparency around pricing and the supply chain. They’ll have less time to research the products they buy – but they’ll care even more about how they are sourced. They’ll choose to shop with retailers who provide that transparency so they can feel good about the items they purchase. This will require retailers to work with manufacturers to source items responsibly and sustainably. Retailers who do this and share the information will further earn customers’ trust.

2. I’ve seen what you have and I want it, too

Customers all over the world now know, and can see, what people in other countries have, and they want access to it all. And they want it now. Chinese customers want access to Louis Vuitton bags from France and milk from Australia. Not long ago on a visit to Nigeria and Ghana, I asked one of our local store managers what his one wish would be. His answer: “I want you to put a Walmart Supercenter like the ones you have in the US right here and let me run it. My customers and my family have seen what you have and we want it, too. We want those items at those prices.”

As Tom Friedman taught us, the world got flat and now it’s moving fast. The world needs inclusive growth provided in a sustainable manner. People are demanding it.

3. Shared value

With all these changes, retailers will only survive if their business creates shared value that benefits shareholders and society. Social and environmental sustainability will be engineered into our systems, and that will strengthen the communities in which we operate, which will in turn appeal to customers. These changes, however, will require new levels of cooperation and collaboration between retailers and NGOs, governments and educational institutions. Basically, we’ll design retail and other businesses so that all stakeholders (as many as possible) benefit: customers, associates/employees, shareholders, the communities we serve and those in the supply chain.

At Walmart, we’ve already found that investments in training, education and wages for our associates have resulted in higher customer satisfaction. Our customers want our associates to have a great life and they want to see that reflected in their attitudes and the service they provide.

When it comes to environmental sustainability, retailers and policy-makers face new challenges with the increase in packaging waste and emissions that comes with the growth of e-commerce. Shipping packages one at a time is not only wasteful and environmentally unsustainable, it isn’t cost-effective. The demand for convenience will force retailers to come up with new ways to ship items – in batches vs. one at a time –that are better for business and the environment.

While all these changes pose big challenges for retailers, they also represent unprecedented opportunities to innovate on behalf of customers and create new job opportunities for retail associates. I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in retail, to be at the forefront of change and part of an industry that has the potential to provide a better life for millions around the world.

This piece draws on a new report, Shaping the Future of Retail for Consumer Industries, which can be read here.

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If You Were An ’80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These


These were the beauty products we loved as ’80s kids and teens that seem to have disappeared from drugstore shelves.

Source: If You Were An ’80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Remember when it seemed insane to contemplate a world in which you did not use Flex shampoo and cream rinse? When you couldn’t conceive of the day when you would wash your face with anything other than the translucent Neutrogena bar? When your bangs were never high enough until you’d spritzed them to a crisp with Aussie Sprunch Spray?

Nowadays we’re all about sulfate-free styling products and organic shower gels, but back in the ’80s, we thought our VO5 Hot Oil treatments were the height of beauty technology. We recently took a look at all the lip balms from the ’80s that we miss desperately, but that got us thinking about the millions of products we loved as kids and teens, the products and potions that made us smell like a bouquet of carnations and gave us “salon-style” tresses that seem to have disappeared from the drugstore shelves. Where on earth are they now?

1. Agree Shampoo

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

No one had strong feelings about Agree, not the way they did about technological wonders like Pert Plus (the original shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one) or Salon Selectives (I still don’t really know why some women look like they just stepped out of a salon). Agree was the aptly named shampoo that showed up on the edge of the bathtub and you used, agreeably, because you were a kid and it had been sitting on the same corner of the tub since the ’70s.

2. Ten-O-Six

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Why was Ten-O-Six called a “lotion”? It was an astringent, a toner, that my older sister swore by for combating acne. It was also not clear why the product was called Ten-O-Six, which I can only assume had something to do with its pH balance or something equally ’80s-scientific. We didn’t question the fact that Bonne Bell, the people behind America’s least serious beauty product, Lip Smackers, made our very serious antiseptic cleanser. That amber bottle said “serious about skin” in ways no tube of Oxy ever could.

3. Studio Line by L’Oréal

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Stu-Stu-Studio Line by L’Oréal was the first brand of mousse I owned, and it was certainly the best. One pump rubbed back and forth briskly through my bangs, and I had plumage as multi-petaled as a peony, and just as gorgeous.

4. Tickle

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

I will never forget the day in 1986 when I came home from ballet class and found a gigantic, pink bottle of Tickle sitting on my dresser. The message was clear: I stunk. It was difficult to come to grips with smelling bad, but it was also exciting to be grown up enough to need deodorant. That roller ball was so very huge — much too big for anyone’s armpit, but that was, weirdly, its selling point. Much more than Teen Spirit, the smell of Tickle takes me back to my formative years, when “having B.O.” was just about the worst thing on earth. I was luckily spared from such a fate by my trusty baby-powder-scented roll-on.

5. Clairol Herbal Essence

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

The lady with the long, wavy blonde hair woven through with flowers was just about the dreamiest figure ever to gaze at while lying in a tepid bathtub, scrubbing away any facial impurities with a scratcy ol’ Buf-Puf. There wasn’t a house in town that didn’t have Clairol Herbal Essence. Years later, I went off to college with the ’90s version, which had none of the hippie chic splendor of the goopy green original.

6. Love’s Baby Soft

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

You weren’t really grown up until you wore perfume, and the perfume of choice for the under-13 set was Love’s Baby Soft. It was around in the ’70s, when the ads were vaguely disturbing and played up the sexiness of young girls, but it was the ’80s when we discovered this girliest of the girly fragrances. Love’s Baby Soft is what Valerie Bertinelli must have smelled like, what Vicki from Love Boat smelled like — it was the powdery smell of pretty girls with banana clips and Bermuda bags and retainers made of paper clips.

7. Lee Press-On Nails

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Oh, the glamour of long, grown-up nails! Oh, the trail of peril we left in our wake when the “superstick tabs” proved to be hardly super and definitely not sticky! I like that the package here is designated “Natural Length” at approximately 3 inches long.

8. Tinkerbell Scent

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

This snazzy little kit came with Tinkerbell Cologne, a large bottle of flowery-scented brown liquid that was definitely going to spill all over the bathroom plus a scented soap and a companion talc so that every little girl could smell like a bunch of sickeningly sweet chemicals. I didn’t understand the connection between this Tinkerbell and the Peter Pan Tinkerbell, and I guess I still don’t.

9. Tinkerbell Bo-Po

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Mom loved Brush-On Peel-Off Nail Polish because it didn’t require polish remover, but did she also love it when we peeled it off and left pink petals of Hocus Pocus Pink all over the house? The only thing more satisfying than peeling Bo-Po off your nails was peeling Elmer’s Glue off your hands.

10. Body on Tap

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

The sight of the Body on Tap shampoo bottle is what I imagine an acid flashback must be like. The bottle looked like a Michelob, and the shampoo was actually one-third real beer. You have to wonder why this one didn’t take off.

11. Stiff Stuff

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

This stuff smelled disgusting, but it did the trick where all other hairsprays failed. If you wanted big hair, you had to have Stiff Stuff. It was to be used sparingly, otherwise you could end with a rat’s nest so snarled a whole bottle of No More Tangles wasn’t going to get it out. But used correctly, you got hair just the right amount of stiff that would stay in place right through the final slow dance of the night (“Always” by Atlantic Starr).

12. Bonne Bell Blushing Gel

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These


Everyone’s first blush! It went on as a gel, but dried to a strange red Kool-Aid stain on your cheek! Sometimes it would congeal a little in the tube and you’d squeeze out a chunk or two. There was something so romantic about a “blushing gel” — as if putting this stuff on guaranteed you’d be adorably embarrassed by some flirty boy’s attention.

13. Sun-In

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

There was no souvenir of a summer vacation more precious than Sun-In highlights, proof you’d spent the break “laying out,” covered in Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, maybe on someone’s roof. If you were like me and you had black hair, you got pretty much no results from Sun-In, or maybe you had one brown patch that turned bright orange. It didn’t matter that it looked terrible — you had “natural” highlights, and that was all that mattered.

14. Flex Shampoo and Conditioner

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

I was a little surprised to find that there is a Facebook group devoted to bringing back the original Flex formula. My friends and I loved Flex when we were young, but as soon as we got wise to Finesse and the other “fancy” shampoos on the market, we were done with Flex. “It strips your hair!” was the party line at my school, and we turned our backs on Revlon’s famous shampoo and cream rinse, searching for nutrients in brands like Fabergé Organics, and of course, that new girl on the block, Pantene Pro-V.

15. Sure

Raise your hand if you’re Sure! It was no Tickle, but it worked. We had a spray can of Sure in the locker room that the entire population of seventh-grade girls passed around after gym class.

16. Aqua Net

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

For feathers that stayed perfectly feathered and bangs that looked like a tidal wave, Aqua Net was the “professional” solution.

17. Jean Naté

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

What the hell was Jean Naté? Does anyone really know? It was an “After Bath Splash,” and it sat on the back of our toilet for 20 years, doing precisely nothing. I don’t think anyone ever opened it. Good thing the bottle was gallon-sized, so there was plenty to go around in case someone ever got crazy and decided to try it. There was a big bottle of…pee-colored something in all my friends’ bathrooms too, sometimes with a matching tin of powder, both unopened.

18. Dippity-Do

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

For the wet look. Life was so much easier before all the powders and sprays and tonics we use today — boy or girl, you just took a massive palmful of Dippity-Do and slicked it into your hair, and you were ready to go. A simpler, more innocent time.

19. Impulse

“When a man you’ve never met suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse.” When you are a preteen and you see an ad with that kind of promise, you are desperate to try this confounding body spray, Axe before there was Axe, a purse-size aerosol that was not deodorant, not perfume, but some combo of the two that would make men so besotted by your scent they’d steal a bouquet and chase you down the block to present it to you. I wanted it so badly. I wanted to live in a world as spontaneous, as impulsive as that commercial.

20. Sea Breeze

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Sea Breeze must have been pure alcohol — whatever chemical reaction took place when you put it on your face was so intense it tingled and burned like an acid bath. I was convinced that I owed my zit-free skin to Sea Breeze, and not to the fact that I was 7, still too young to have zits.

21. Anaïs Anaïs

If You Were An '80s Teenager, You Probably Owned All Of These

Anaïs Anaïs, probably named for Anaïs Nin, but little did we know or care, was the first real grown-up perfume I owned. It came in a very deluxe package that was made out of milk glass or porcelain with the most heavenly peach-colored lily watercolor scene painted on the bottle. It smelled like roller-skating and Depeche Mode and Seven Minutes in Heaven.



Melissa Kirsch is senior editor at Cafe. She is the author of The Girl’s Guide (Workman, 2015), now in its sixth printing with 100,000 copies in print.

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