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A global culture of cool? Generation Y and their perception of coolness

Shelagh Ferguson (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




This paper seeks to explore whether the global market segment Generation Y shares a common perception of a specific consumption activity, namely bungy jumping, and how perceptions of cool operate around that.


A qualitative methodology is adopted, appropriate to the exploratory aims of the research, which utilises existing filmed interviews to elicit responses from other members of Generation Y. The research explores shared identification, meaning and knowledge of a specific consumption practice, namely commercial bungy jumping.


The actual form of consumption, bungy jumping was widely accepted as being “cool” but a global consensus on a “cool” consumer and their story could not be reached. The research concludes by proposing a hierarchy for the attribution of cool from one Generation Y member to another; thus extending theoretical discussion and knowledge by investigating an established concept in a specific context to illustrate the complex and uneven nature of cultural globalisation.

Research limitations/implications

This research interprets global Generation Y culture from a small convenience sample from America, Ireland, Scotland and England, thus generating avenues for further research as discussed.


These findings have value for businesses that create consumption experiences for Generation Y customers and scholars seeking insight into the plural and complex function of cool.



Ferguson, S. (2011), "A global culture of cool? Generation Y and their perception of coolness", Young Consumers, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 265-275.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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