Generation Next... or is it Past?
By Maggie Wrobel
Each generation has its definitive moments and like it or not, these often
arise in the realm of popular culture. Think of Woodstock, or The Beatles’ first
appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show — both are major milestones that people
still reminisce about today.
One of our own definitive pop culture moments came a few years ago, when Pepsi
commissioned the Spice Girls to write its marketing theme song, “Generation
Next.” This campaign sold the idea of a “Pepsi Generation” to
millions worldwide, but this wasn’t even the first time Pepsi had tried
this approach! The Pepsi Generation ad campaign was born in the late 1960s
and has been recycled every few years since then with a new trendy celebrity
at the publicity helm each time.
Recycling seems to be a major trend nowadays. Pepsi recycles their own ads
and we’ve (thankfully) learned to recycle their cans. But along with
environmental recycling, our generation is also partial to pop culture recycling;
namely of fashion and music trends.
For instance, right now, 1980s fashion is all the rage in stores, but we’ve
already gone through the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and this decade
has even already brought forth a redux of the grunge “fashion” of
the ’90s. Are there no other truly original things that we can come up
with? The only really new trend seems to be 12-year-old girls dressing like
hoes on their weekend trips to the mall. What does this say about us as a generation?
Maybe we’re the Gap Generation. Cruising on the slogan “Everybody
in... Gap,” the Gap has gained marketing ground by insisting that everyone
needs to own the same items of clothing and young impressionable minds have
followed suit. Each generation searches for original voices, but conformity
has become the song our generation is determined to sing. The marketing industry
owns our souls and is slowly selling them back to us, one Gap sweater at a
Are there relevant role models of the past that we can turn to? You can even
look at traditionally seminal artists such as David Bowie and Madonna, who
made careers out of reinventing themselves, but have gone sour in the ’00s,
with Bowie soon to appear in a Tommy Hilfiger ad campaign and Madonna reinventing
herself as a Gap-modelling cougar.
Thankfully, freshly-hatched superstars-in-the-making like Nelly Furtado draw
from other cultures for inspiration and create music that’s fresh and
real, and neo-hipster fashion designers like Imitation of Christ invert fashion
recycling trends by turning thrift store items into brand new creations.
A world where a harmless teen like Avril Lavigne is marketed to represent
punk and one-man corporation Sean “Puffy” Combs claims to have
invented the remix is undoubtedly a very scary place to exist, but there’s
hope for us yet, because it seems as though creativity is not yet completely