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« The DNA of Behavior, Part 7 | Main | The DNA of Behavior, Part 8 »

October 20, 2005


Brent Green

As a member of The Society, and honored to be connecting with such visionary people as David and Jon on a regular basis, I know that we have much work ahead. I don’t want just to help businesses and media make more money selling to 50+ consumers; I want to help influence a fundamental societal paradigm shift about the 50+ life stage. Ageism is an ugly undercurrent in American society. Jon is truly at the battlefront in LA, surrounded by a youth-obsessed industry that is disconnected from the nation's aging demographics. We're going to change that.

Jeffrey Osborne

Yes, that's right folks. It actually did not hit the amazing target demo (as we call it) of 18-49s,18-34s, or those folks commonly known as my kids or the ones making me coffee at Starbucks.

Interesting. I agree with Mr. Currie's sentiment, and unfortunately I'm full on confused by the above statement. Is Mr. Currie referring to two different demos here, or three? And if three, is he suggesting that there is a demo comprised of his kids and all Starbucks barristas? Please clarify. Thanks!

Marianne Richmond

I think that there are some other things going on besides just "demos" and that we are actually caught mid-shift...yes certainly there is a demographic shift as the baby boom population advances in age and marketers who don't adjust to this will be missing the boat...but there is also a profound shift as blogs, RSS and web 2.0 change the way we communicate on a personal and a business/brand level that isn't simply split by 18-34 or 18-49 or 50plus. In other words, it may be that the marketers who "get" this will have the most impact...there are lots of kids listening to Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd on their IPOD Nanos and lots of their parents and grandparents getting their "product updates" on the web... not from TV advertising at all.



Actually two versions of one from an advertiser' perspective, that is, the"youth and young adult demo" which is defined differently at differnt times by different people




Interesting thoughts. Soundsas though age is less and less the primary distinction in a number of product lines. Hmmm. Sounds ike an ageless society to me.

Thanks your thoughts.



The Boomer Generation can't be contained in a box. Herein lies the problem for producers, marketers, et al. If Commander in Chief thought it was targeting the 18-to-49ers, then they missed it from the get go! This show (imho) appeals to the upper end of Boomer Generation and beyond (the unnamed, War Baby Population 60+) who are intrigued by the possibility of a woman as president but don't pander to liberal political philosphy nor will they support Hillary Clinton. To use the writer's analogy of Starbuck employees, I find "them" as belonging to one of 2 groups - passionate, trying to scrape together some dough while pursuing goals; or those who don't have goals and are just trying to avoid asking mom and dad to provide room and board (again), and (yes; it is a broad assumption, yet generally accurate).

Jon Currie

Answers on the comments on my rant:

1. thanks Brent.
2. I was being flip. These "demos" are all typical "desirable demographics."
My comment is that they, i.e., Starbucks employess and my kids have the same economic viability. Not true, in general, but a hell of a charged statement designed to light fires under people's arses.
3 and 4. Whether we accept it or not, target demos are the way media is bought and sold and the way media shows are created, i.e., with them in mind. It's a fact of life.
5. Not ageless in the media world.
6. Agree--but it's the same phenomenon which has Turner Classic Movies repackaging old black and whites, like the Thin Man, etc. (stuff my parents watched--too old even for me) for those amazingly desirable young adults. Hey, wake up call number 947 coming: Folks, they are not going to watch these movies. Not ever. Unless they're wasted or in film school.

Max Leibman

I would agree with the rant. I think the Tom Peters assessment--that boomers are a TRILLION$$$ market segment that's largely getting ignored and fumbled. I see plenty of ads, from drugs to vacations to lifestyle products, skewing older, but nowhere near proportionate to the percentage of population or dollars.

But, I do have to say..."The Society" sounds ominous to me. I'm picturing a group of dour, middle-aged white men in expensive suits meeting in secret to plot the future of the world...

Yvonne DiVita

The Businessweek article was ho-hum. Sorry. It just repeated what's already been said. The best place to find good boomer info is right here -- from a boomer who has a vested interest in his marketing group.

That said, I have a point to make... what's the big deal? I'm a boomer. I vote with my pocketbook and my blog -- which, BTW, addresses this issue and connects with the people involved -- people in middle-America.

Here's what I see happening -- those of us in this space -- the marketing to -- boomers, women, pet-owners, whathaveyou -- sometimes spend too much time reporting on the stuff the so-called experts say, often neglecting other, equally useful content from the boomers themselves.

If you really want to represent the boomers -- to show TV producers and marketing professionals the value of boomer $$ -- why don't you start connecting with real boomers?

For instance, your caption to Martha Barletta's book: "If you're in marketing and read only one book this year..." I read Martha's book. It's good. But, fraught with 'expert opinion' and information on high-end shopping stores. The experts she quotes DON'T represent ME, or most of the women I know, and the high-end shopping stores aren't in my budget, either.

So... while I give credence and credit to her and her book, I also seek out other resources, Mommy and Daddy blogs, for instance, to get a clear picture of how boomers think.

I ask you, where are the voices of the people? Never mind a 'Society', never mind Tom Peters, never mind Businessweek. Get in touch with us -- with the women (especially, there are more of us) and with the men, and help us give a voice to our needs. Isn't that what boomers used to do best -- fight the status quo?

Max's image of 'The Society' is frightening. This post about who's watching (or was watching) The Commander in Chief is more about individual preferences than age. I like the idea of the show -- but never tuned in because -- it's not on at a convenient time. And, I don't much care what TV producers on the Big Three (or four) stations do -- I have cable. I can watch whatever I want. If I like it and it gets cancelled -- I'll bet a week's salary it'll be back in 2-3 years -- repackaged.

Meanwhile, there's always Law and Order.

David Wolfe


Not only are aging boomers not getting the attention they should be getting (outside pharma lines), ads including pharma ads show older faces but reflect the values of youth more often than not. It takes more than an older face to connect with the values of the typical older personality.

As to The Society, it's not really a "dour, middle-aged white men in expensive suits meeting in secret to plot the future of the world..." It's the most interesting group of people (of whom about half are women) I have ever had the pleasure of associating with in my adult professional life. A large percentage of Societans are authors. Fields that members come from include neuroscience, clincal psychology, life insurance, advertising, hospice care, direct marketing, journalism, travel, newspaper publishing, HMOs, hospital administration, corporate education and training and more.

We came together 12 years ago and meet twice a year, often at venues you'd never guess --like the fabulous, almost unbelievable Crazy Horse Monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota and on the lovely Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

The Society membership includes some of the best minds in second half markets and lifestyles in the country.

Thanks for your comments, Max.


David Wolfe


You wrote, "The Businessweek article was ho-hum. Sorry. It just repeated what's already been said. The best place to find good boomer info is right here -- from a boomer who has a vested interest in his marketing group."

For the most part, I agree with you about the BW article. And where I might see things differently than you, it's only because the article did indeed bring up several points that have not gotten much coverage. For example, when I wrote "Serving the Ageless Market" 17 years ago, everyone seemed to be saying as Ken Dychtwald did, "Previous generations got out of the "Me first stage. Boomers will not. They will go into old age kicking and screaming all the way, continuing to seek instant gratification in all they do." Well, I disagreed with that claim going on two decades ago because it didn't square with what I knew about adult development in the second half of life. The BW article was unusual in that it announced that boomers are generally comfortable with their age. As I said, that goes against what most people were predicting just a few years ago.

In any event, don't you get tired of all the talk about aging boomers this and aging boomers that?

The Society is not really ominous and frightening. I'd say that better than 90% are "aging boomers," including a terrific woman who is one of the very first boomers ever born: January 1, 1946 at 00:07 AM.

I do believe that the crowd I travel in has some of the best minds in marketing to people in the second half of life.

Marti Barletta's book is not all it could be, but by my lights is one of the best books on marketing I've read in recent years. There may be better, but I've not read them yet. Perhaps to my everlasting loss (until I find time to cure it) I have not read your book.

I might ask if you've read my book, "Ageless Marketing." If you have, then I should be doubly shamed for not reading yours, shouldn't I?

Thanks for your provocative observations! Truly, Yvonne!


Yvonne DiVita

Ah, charmer, you! Exactly what I like in my boomer men. You do make such good points. Which is why I read your blog -- but not nearly enough.

I desperately (isn't it just like a woman to be dramatic?) want to read your book.

So, you say, why haven't you?

Inertia. Every time I think of ordering it, I get distracted. So, I am going to Amazon right now and I am going to order it.

Does this mean -- you might consent to be interviewed on my little blog, about your book and about the power of the boomers?

David Wolfe


Indeed, you are the more charming of the two of us. And I would indeed be honored by your interview of me for ryour blog.

BTW, if you'd like me to link to your blogsite, pick one of my categories (or suggest a new one), express in 40 words or less a description of your site and I will hook you to my wagon.

Also, noticed your connection to Third Age. Are you friends with Sharon Whiteley, Third Age CEO? We're real buddies.


Yvonne DiVita

You know Sharon? You do move in the best circles! I don't personally know Sharon...I was recruited by the blog editor, Jory DesJardins.

I love ThirdAge! It's a real privilege to write for them.

Much thanks on the invitation to link to little old Lip-sticking. I'll work on the 40 words directly. (I ordered your book -- so you're on for an interview! I'll contact you after I read it.)

Now -- I must compliment you. You have the best links -- Michele Miller is a bona fide girl friend, and Holly Buchanan is on her way to the top -- I love her new blog!

Naturally, I feel honored to be in their marketing space, and I welcome them to mine. It's my dearest hope to meet them (and you)face to face, someday.


it seems to be that this blog is a nice site, interesting topic, hope it will lasts for many more years.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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