Dining, Wireless Providers, Automobiles

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Regarding taste: "We all know [fast-food] is not the best thing to eat. But it just tastes so good!" -male, Boston

* Taste is more important than nutritional content, and teens like the taste of quick-serve restaurant food. Most teens are aware of the debate about healthy food; they're just unwilling to sacrifice taste for a healthier lifestyle.

Regarding menu options: "That is what is so quality about Wendy's. They've got all these choices. You can even get a baked potato!" -male, Los Angeles

* Today's teens have grown up with variety. A cornucopia of menu options improves brand perception; teens can customize their orders to satisfy personal cravings.

Regarding speed: "It's fast-food. It's not supposed to be slow. I need to know I can get in and out if I'm in a rush." -female, Boston

* Teens feel they're constantly on the go, including the crucial "hanging time" with friends. Lots to do, so speed is essential.

Regarding cleanliness: "There is this one [brand not mentioned] that is so dirty. It is disgusting. I can never go in there anymore."-female, New York

* The "cool" factor is important, but teens also equate cleanliness with overall quality of the food and how valued they are as customers.

Wireless providers

Regarding reception & connection: "If a cell phone has [crummy] reception, what is the point? " -male, Los Angeles.

* The on-the-go lives of teens often also include jobs and driving, and to juggle it all, their cell phones need to be reliable. The best wireless brand is associated with the highest-quality connection.

Regarding customization: "I like Cingular because of the rollover minutes. But I know some people like other deals where you get free nights." -male, New York

* The more things teens can customize-minutes, ringtones, type of phone, etc.-the more attractive the brand becomes.

Regarding personal expression: "Not all plans give you a phone with ringtones and wallpaper. I need to be able to make my phone mine." -female, New York

* Nothing escapes teens' desire to be unique. That includes the cell phone; they pick and choose features until the combination reflects their personality and needs.

Regarding personal freedom: "It's just ... No one in your family is going to answer it, and you can take it everywhere with you. It's just yours." -female, Los Angeles

* Teens want independence. They desire to have truly "private" lives, and appreciate the ownership they have over their cell phones.


Regarding style: "It's gotta look good. ...So I'm looking at cars [brands] I like with the best style." -male, Los Angeles

* Me-focused teens are concerned about what their choices and possessions say about them. Those who aspire to be wealthy hold the highest perception of brands like Mercedes-Benz. For the tough and rugged, there are Jeeps and other SUVs.

Regarding options: "I love that [OnStar] that tells you where you are. Ohh, and leather seats! Heated! You've got to be able to put in a good stereo."-female, New York

* Many teens will take the effort to make a car uniquely theirs. The brand must be able to be customized. Teens want to know they have choices, even if they don't exercise them.

Regarding safety: "It has to be safe. I don't wanna feel like I am in danger driving it."-male, Boston

* For cars, teens often take advice from their parents. Rational features such as safety are extremely important to teens, who recognize themselves as a high-risk group for car accidents.

Regarding roominess: "My friends and I do everything together; there has to be room for all of us."-female, Los Angeles

* Friends are the center of teens' social universe, so you've got to find a place to put them. Comfortable back seats are crucial. Teens mention extra room as a main attractions of an SUV.

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