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Shop 'til You Drop

Published
1984: Madonna in New York

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Nonstop glamour and excess find a new poster girl in the 1980s, when a hot young singer sees her chance to create her own brand. Catapulted to superstardom with a shocking performance of “Like a Virgin” at the first MTV Music Video Awards, Madonna inspires countless girls across the globe to hit the nearest shopping mall to match her distinctive style. But, it’s not just teen girls who are putting their credit cards to work; successful young men with money to burn are buying into the young professional (or “yuppie”) lifestyle and scooping up the latest expensive gadget: the cell phone. For $4,000, U.S. consumers can pick up their own portable phone, weighing more than one kilogram. Television execs are eager to cash in on this new spending trend, and iconic ’80s soap “Dynasty” becomes the first show to license products for adults. And, marketers learn an important lesson about the power of these new consumers in 1985 when Coca Cola’s disastrous launch of New Coke threatens its position against Pepsi.