the reality of perceptions

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The Alloy focus groups were asked about their specific perceptions of major brands in the dining, wireless and auto categories. The consensus of their responses speaks to how effectively marketers portray themselves to teen consumers.


Participants had individual preferences but didn't perceive one quick-serve chain to be "cooler" or more "for teens" than the others.

Brand "Who is this brand for"

McDonald's Anyone and everyone.

Burger King Someone who likes their food made a certain way.

Wendy's People who like better-quality fast-food.

Taco Bell Mostly teens and young adults who want to eat inexpensive Mexican food.

Pizza Hut Someone who drives and can get takeout and has more time to eat.

KFC Someone who needs a change from burgers and fries.

Wireless providers

Most of the teens cited Verizon Wireless as the preferred provider for their age group. They said it offered the most reliability.

Brand "Who is this brand for"

Cingular People who aren't sure how many minutes they will use.

Sprint Some mentioned families sharing a plan; not a real teen brand.

Verizon Wireless People who worry about great reception and coverage.

T-Mobile People who want to talk anytime; families who share a plan and worry about minutes.

Nextel Anyone who needs immediate connection; speaks to hip-hop lifestyle.


Teens don't have direct experience with many auto brands, so none gained the status of teen favorite. They have the highest perceptions toward "aspirational" brands like luxury cars.

Brand "Who is this brand for"

Chevrolet Suburban adult males who need tough, reliable truck.

Ford Seems designed more for adults; someone who needs a powerful ride.

Chrysler Adults because no teens drive them.

Toyota Families concerned with room and safety; more mature people.

Nissan Teens and young adults who want a good car but don't have a lot of money.

Honda Teens and young adults who demand speed.

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