30 October 2020

Those Irrepressible Boomers

Disclaimer: Nothing much about advertising.

I just can’t get all hot ’n bothered by all this pro/anti Boomer stuff.

I remember not caring about it and making fun of it almost twenty-five years ago:

The Anti Boomer Page
Published April 8, 1997
… Here's a kid sick of hearing about Boomers -- and I don't blame him … When I was his age all I ever heard about was the Depression and WWII. What a bore.

Sixteen years ago this was published:

The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy
by Leonard Steinhorn
It's fashionable to mock Boomers as self-involved and materialistic. But what really is the true legacy of the Boomers?

Good book. Read Brent Green’s take on it: Redefining Generational Greatness.

Professor Steinhorn was featured in a Washington Post Magazine piece in January:

He wrote the book on boomers, and he thinks the Gen Z rap against them isn’t quite OK
By Graham Vyse
… As a millennial raised by a pair of liberal boomers, I’m instinctively sympathetic to Steinhorn’s case. I’m close to my parents, and I share their values, so it made sense when Steinhorn told me there’s much less of a cultural “generation gap” between boomers and younger cohorts than between boomers and their parents.

Now David Cravit is tossing up videos about it all. He does a fine job walking us through the history of Boomers, demolishing dumb myths:

The Unapologetic Boomer
... If you're a Baby Boomer tired of being blamed for everything, this is your place. I offer a blunt, but evidence-based, argument for why the Boomers have nothing to apologize for.

And Ashton Applewhite is pulverizing parallel myths about Ageism:

This Chair Rocks
… From childhood on, we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old. That wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless …

May I mention that yours truly is mentioned in Ms. Applewhite’s book?

The Chuck is Very Cool and Cutting-Edge and a Very Important Person Post
… Ashton Applewhite, a leading activist and shaker-upper in the You’re-An-Asshole-If-You’re-Ageist world, quoted me in her book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

My takes on these subjects are usually tongue-in-cheek. A few years ago a silly book came out and I had fun goofing on it:

76 Million Sociopaths Outed
… Being a narcissistic boomer, I loved reading the article - although it was rather vague, didn’t have any substance or facts. But that’s fine. It’s a teaser. No doubt the author has impressive degrees in history and sociology, maybe even psychology. So the book should be fantastic, and not written by some dildo blowhard with nothing much to say …

And there are other underlying reasons why my generation is the tops:

People are always coming up to me and asking, “Chuck, why are Baby Boomers so wonderful?”
How rare it is to have an infinite number of correct answers to a single question! One of my standard replies: It has to do with our alimentary intake during adolescence …

Blaming Boomers. It’s just simple-minded people looking for simple-minded answers.

24 September 2020

Growing Bolder & Ken Dychtwald

Virtual friend Marc Middleton and his crew have been producing Growing Bolder for ….

Well, he was just a young whippersnapper when it all began:

04 October 2008
Growing Bolder Series on PBS
Hi Chuck,
     I thought you might be interested in our news about the Growing Bolder TV Show…

It’s returning this fall:

Sneak Preview of Growing Bolder Season 6
This season, we’re proud to bring you more stories of ordinary people living extraordinary lives…


The GB web site is full of great info, entertainment, videos. Recently, Marc interviewed Gerontologist-Extraordinaire  Ken Dychtwald. It’s a down-to-earth, casual, revealing chit-chat:

Good work, Marc!

23 September 2020

Do you want to feel old?

I’ve been writing about ageism for decades – even before I knew there was a term for it. 

Apparently, I was behind the curve. Ageism was coined in 1969. Back then yours truly was nineteen. I don’t remember being ageist. Maybe I was. I thought people were wonderful or  idiots for whatever reasons. The reasons weren’t based on age. My heroes and villains were young and old.

When I was forty-eight or so someone sent me an email (I had a blog about Baby Boomers). A fellow was in the advertising business and said he was fired because he was fifty. I scoffed.  Surely he was fired because he was an idiot.

Then I turned fifty.

That was over twenty years ago.

Recently I stumbled upon a post on Linked-In:

Saeed Zaman
VP, Head of Digital Innovation & Integrated Media

I have been getting a lot of messages from people implying that #age has anything to do with anything. I am 42 and will be 43 in December - there, I said it. Which #apparently means I am not up to the #fake and beyond #superficial standards of our #industry (and other industries) obsessed with #Youth and #PopCulture. I don’t care if you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond. Just like I don’t care if you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s. If you’re #smart, #intelligent and can make sense of your surroundings with a highly #rational and #logical point of view, I’m your biggest fan and you’re most definitely part of my #team. That’s it. Beyond that, I really don’t give a $#%€!

Golly, gee … he’s only a baby!

(Whoops! Am I showing my reverse-ageism?)

Over forty and you’re through. If this trend holds, by 2030 all ad agencies will be staffed by five-to-eleven-year-olds.

Because once you’re twelve, you’re through.

29 July 2020

Back

Where have I been? Like most, Yours Truly has been self-isolating and pretending I’m working.

Advertising to Baby Boomers. For some reason, I haven’t been excited about this subject for the last few months. By the time I get my mask to fit properly without fogging up the glasses and slather on hand sanitizer I forget what I’m supposed to be doing. Then I turn and catch myself in the mirror and with those mask bands pulling on the back of my ears I look like Dopey.

Just a tedious list of things I’ve glanced at since the lockdown:

Boomers and millennials both love Apple and Amazon, but here are the brands they don’t agree on 


Well, we’re also older than sixty-four, but who cares about anybody older than sixty-four.

Don’t Forget Baby Boomers Recognition Day

Nobody over the age of sixty can discern what’s on their smartphone screen with sunglasses on.  Other than that, a perfect representation of this cohort.

Boomers Are the Future of AI and Virtual Reality, Not Millennials
A growing number of firms are developing tech targeted specifically at older people

Hmmm. They’re finally catching on. From my book ©2005 – the cover and pull-quote:

“It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.”

About Advertising but not
about Baby Boomers

Yesterday I tossed up an online course about creativity and advertising. Click the link to watch the introductory video. It’s a fun romp. If for no other reason, you can see how creepy and old I am nowadays:

Digging Around in The Past for Inspiration

18 March 2020

Advertising to Yolds

That’s what many of us are now. Young-Olds – or Yolds.  Hey, it could’ve been even sillier: Old-Youngs – or Oyoungs.

The decade of the "young old" begins
People turning 65 will not retire quietly into the background, predicts John Parker
THE YEAR 2020 will mark the beginning of the decade of the yold…

Mr. Parker is a tad behind the curve with his prediction. Yours Truly (and scores of others) ‘predicted’ this years and years ago. Culled from my book Advertising to Baby Boomers © 2005:

Contrary to popular myth, Baby Boomers do not believe that they are still teenagers or young adults. (Some probably do, but they need therapy.) Boomers are slyly redefining what it means to be the ages they are. Included in this new definition are some youthful attitudes - but the real change is that instead of winding down, many are winding up. We're not 'looking forward to retirement,' we're looking forward to new lives, new challenges. Only a small percentage will opt for pure retirement. (I predict that in twenty years the word 'retirement' will still be in dictionaries, but followed by the modifier archaic.)

17 AUGUST 2007
Time to Retire the 'R' Word
… Many baby boomers, now turning 60, are healthier and want to work forever. Many shift to different kinds of careers … So "retirement" is kind of an inoperative word.

In a related non-development:

Managers: 3 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Hire More Baby Boomers
Hiring in this demographic may be the best strategy to build a thriving work culture.
By Marcel Schwantes

Good article. It would’ve likewise been good way back in 2003 when I wrote this:

Back into the Fold
The Giant Leap: there had better be a minor revolution in the creative end of the advertising industry. Talented men and women in their late forties and fifties need to be brought back into the fold if you want to reach us. This includes copywriters, graphic artists, producers, directors, and creative directors.

Since then … take a look at a collection of moldy yold posts:

Human Resources/Brain Power

I’ll end with one moldy yold post from 2009 that covers both yolds & hiring yolds:

17 SEPTEMBER 2009
Late Bloomer Boomers
The Late Bloomer Boomer Movement is going full blast, and there’s no stopping it. The magic equation: Thirty-odd years of experience plus not feeling old and being relatively healthy plus knowing you have another 25 years of productivity in you equals …



Off-Topic & Just For Fun:

The Chuck is Very Cool and Cutting-Edge and a Very Important Person Post
Ashton Applewhite, a leading activist and shaker-upper in the You’re-An-Asshole-If-You’re-Ageist world, quoted me in her book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.

18 February 2020

Another Dumb Article: Boomer Big Data

Echoing a previous post:

17 APRIL 2019
No News News & Fake News
I’m not linking to any more dumb articles…

It’s amazing how many data firms are out there. I have no idea why there is such an insatiable appetite for jumbles of numbers, slices of shaded pies, arrays of multi-colored lines going every which way.  Abstract art at its most incomprehensible.

Marketers specially love all the mystifying razzle-dazzle.

I read an article recently by someone who works at a big data firm.  The article made no sense.  Or the writer was so blinded by numbers, pies, and lines that it was impossible for this person to think intelligently.  Or the proofreader was on vacation. (I’ve found that most proofreaders nowadays are on permanent vacation.)

Let’s take a look at the first few sentences:

Baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic in the United States…

Fastest growing demographic? Baby Boomers were born from 1946 to 1964. It is not a fast or slow-growing demographic. This person obviously thinks that people get old and magically morph into baby boomers. 

In 20 years, the population aged 55 and over will account for almost one-third of the U.S. population.

Well, that’s fascinating. But why the above sentence is in the paragraph and why it’s relevant to the article eludes me. Especially when followed by:

Unlike millennials, who are often burdened by student debt and the costs of supporting growing families, boomers have expendable income for in-store and online purchases.

I have no idea what any of the above means, or is trying to mean. Random facts and arbitrary time-frames are haphazardly commingled with jargon-laden gibberish.

Here are the facts:

Today, all baby boomers are over fifty-five years old. If you were born in 1964, you are fifty-five, fifty-six. Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996 (some sociology experts and demographic outfits assign slightly different years).

In twenty years, all of Gen X and even a handful of Millennials will be 55+.

What the hell does “unlike millennials” have to do with anything?

… After rereading this post, I’m even more confused. It’s difficult to unpack nonsense because unpacking nonsense often makes nonsense more nonsensical, if that makes any sense.

All I know is this: If I get any older, I’ll automatically become a member of the Silent Generation, and if I get really old, I’ll all of a sudden become a member of the WWII generation.

And if I live to be two-hundred and fifty, I’ll automatically become a Founding Father.

04 February 2020

Communities for Boomers

The elder-centric housing industry is about to explode every which way.

My tongue-in-cheek take on it:

03 December 2018
Where are old people going to live?
It used to be that old people lived wherever they lived – and that was that.

And I’ve written about this ad nauseam for over fifteen years.  A list of related posts:

Aging In Place & Universal Design

Something you can skim or skip:

Selling Universal Design To Baby Boomers/Aging In Place (PDF)
… What is ‘aging in place’?  Baby Boomers staying
put in their condos or houses for the rest of their lives. Others refer to aging in place as remodeling current residences with Universal Design as the blueprint. Still others use the term to describe Baby Boomers moving into condos or active adult communities not far from where they are now – this so they can still be near work, family, friends.

The powers-that-be are getting smart. They’re starting to target  middle-income boomers - not solely the better-offs everybody covets.

The latest collection of offerings (the article is dense, a bit convoluted – so again, skim):

6 Senior Living Providers to Watch in 2020
…. Baby boomers will come to the space demanding variety in care and amenities, but many may not be able to afford the existing, dominant private pay model of senior housing.

Boomer thinker and marketing maven Matt Thornhill has a new adult community project that fascinates me.  Add it to the list:

Cozy Home Community
… It’s a new type of rentable housing unit specifically designed and built for middle-income Boomers, or folks between 60 and 80.

Two bedrooms, two full baths, and an open floor plan with kitchen, dining and family room — all on one floor. Approximately 1,200 square feet, there’s plenty of space for two people to share.

Culled from my book Advertising to Baby Boomers:

Some Baby Boomer sociology experts predict that semi-retirement and retirement communities will naturally develop personalities based on shared interests.These could be gardening, motorcycles, vegetarianism, the arts, even a community where the shared interest might be financial speculation.

If correct, I can’t think of a better architectural template than Cozy Home Community.

17 January 2020

2020: The Year of Tech

A new year. A new decade. Nothing new.

But here’s my prediction: It’ll be The Year of Tech.

Keep Older Adults at Top of Mind, AARP CEO Urges Tech Industry
50-plus Americans spent $140 billion on technology in 2018, AARP report finds

OK, Boomers: CES 2020 was more about you than ever
January 15, 2020 by
Kevin C. Tofel

As always, any ‘tech’ for Baby Boomers is medical tech.  I’ve written about the silliness and shortsightedness of this ad nauseum:

13 December 2017
We’re always sick.
No matter what the product or service, when Mad Ave tries to ‘reach’ us we’re always sick.  Or something’s horribly wrong. (Sorry the commercial is missing. It probably got sick and died.)

15 October 2015
Baby Boomers Not Wearing Wearables

Never Leave The Hospital! Health Tech Wearables, Implanted Chips
By Chuck Nyren
huffington_post_logo1I'm having issues. I'm worried that the medical industry might want me to worry too much about my health. A little worry is good. But constant worry? It seems as if they want me to think of nothing else but my vital signs for the rest of my life.

2014-11-14-beany.jpgFinally Live The Life You've Always Wanted With Wearables!
By Chuck Nyren
… Along with Google Glasses, you'll also be wearing Google Nose and Google Mouth.

10 April 2013
AARP Is All New Redux: Part IV
(Entrepreneurs, VCs & Health Tech)

There are a dozen more posts. I’ll spare you.

What (almost) nobody talks about: Tech for older folks that has nothing to do with being sick (do any products exist?), ALL tech products that are marketed to everybody – but because of fonts and buttons and software design and just about everything else, these offerings can be difficult to use. 

Back to the beginning – the pull quote from my 2005 book:

“It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.”

I’ll leave you with this…

Everybody is picking their favorite whatevers of the last decade. Here’s my favorite video of the last decade: