22 October 2009

Me vs. We Redux Redux

I guess you should peek at the original Me vs. We:

image Last week I read a piece of marketing advice: "Baby boomers have always been considered the 'me-generation,' and that doesn't change with age."

It's this type of reckless gibberish that is useless to marketers, and ultimately harmful to their clients.

And Me vs. We Redux:

A colleague sent this email:
Good story today - This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize

I did read something about a bunch of pundits apologizing for the recession/depression or whatever we’re going through. Apparently, they think it’s all their fault because they’re Baby Boomers. (Did any generation apologize for The Great Depression? I’ll have to check the history books.  If not, it should.  Some of those evil bastards must still be alive.  Anybody over ninety-eight had better atone.)

Now there’s more:

Me Generation Baby Boomers Find Fulfillment Through Volunteerism, Family Ties
imageBaby boomers may be popularly portrayed as whiners, complainers and narcissists, but a new study by University of Massachusetts Amherst psychology Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne says the 50-somethings are getting a bad rap.

“It’s wrong to say baby boomers are selfish and only care about staying young,” said Whitbourne. “They have a feeling of connection to younger generations and a social conscience.”

Sounds familiar. From my book:

Today, Baby Boomers are two or three times removed from being a “me” generation. What constitutes self-actualization when you are twenty-five is different than when you are fifty-five. In your twenties a person thinks they are the picture. As you get older, you see yourself more and more as a picture that is part of a bigger picture.

Talk to some folks in their twenties, thirties. They are now in that ‘me’ stage. It’s healthy, smart for them to be so. I was just like them thirty years ago, get a big bang out of them, admire their boundless creativity, energy – and self-obsession. These ‘me generation’ twentysomethings today will become a ‘we generation’ in thirty years.

(page 171, Advertising to Baby Boomers)
(c) 2004, 2007 by Paramount Market Publishing

One other pull:

Even more from Richard O. Jones:

The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of the Baby-Boomers
imageThe Baby-Boomer generation had its heyday and now begrudgingly passes the baton to the seemingly irresponsible Hip-hop generation – not that most Baby-Boomers were responsible in their youth because that’s not the case. However, Baby Boomers were the first generation to declare Women’s Liberation and experience the birth control pill. Baby-Boomers were first to experience breast implants, socially acceptable single motherhood, socially acceptable marijuana use, and to invite homosexuals out of the closet.

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  1. Hi Chuck,

    I wrote about whether boomers need to apologize on my blog at http://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/archives/171062.asp.

    I don't think they need to.

    I received a comment with a link to a great video from a boomer who agreed with me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZS7WdlUAO4

    It's worth taking a look at.

    Rita, Blogger, The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com

  2. Something that often gets lost in the shuffle is the fact that the so-called Boomer generation is really comprised of two parts: those for whom Vietnam, the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, and Watergate are significant experiences, and those for whom these events have no real meaning.

    The two groups, while sharing many characteristics, are also remarkably divergent in a number of important ways. As Howard Smead says in "Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty: A History of the Baby Boom":

    Those of us born after 1957, members of the second wave, don't feel nearly as strong a generational identity as the first wave. The feeling of specialness that gave rise in the 60s to the mistrust of our elders known as the Generation Gap largely preceded them. Many boomers born in the 60s have more in common with our successors (and antagonists) in Generation X, who were born between 1965 and 81, Think of it this way: First wave boomers became hippies, second wave punks. But both expressions of dissatisfaction with the world came from our generation, even though they were often at polar opposites within the legions of generational misfits.

    Marketing to ex-hippies is bound to be different from marketing to ex-punks.

  3. Kit -

    We pretty much agree. My take on it from a 2006 post:

    So What's A Baby Boomer?