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An Open Letter to Ad Agencies from the Baby Boomers

Dear Marketing Folks,

We’d like to talk to you about the way that some of your companies are marketing their products to Baby Boomers. First let us say, that we don’t represent everyone in our generation with our letter but we’re sure that many of the people in our age bracket would agree with us.

We believe that The Beatles were on to something when they wrote the song lyrics, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” Our generation is today’s built-in recession cure. We are one of your target audiences with the highest disposable income in our bank accounts. Most of us outspend the younger crowd, have low balances on our credit cards and will most likely buy anything our grandkids want.

While we appreciate hearing classic music in the background, its the actual messages you’re using in your ads are what we have issues with. Contrary to what some of you marketers believe, we’re not just getting old and going off to some trailer park community in Florida to die. And what we lack in our ability to try out the new technology first, we make up in the fact that we’re usually the ones who can actually afford to buy all those cool new gadgets, even if we have to get our kids to come over to set them up.

So we’d like to make our case to you about who we are and what you can do to make smarter decisions about how to market to us. First off, we’re not all the same. Just because we were all born between 1946 and 1964, it doesn’t mean that we’re all living the same life in our golden years. Thanks to Ken Dychtwald, president/CEO of Age Waves, for these lifestyle definitions to describe those us of moving into the next phase of our lives:

  • The Ageless Explorers (27 percent), who never believe they will be “senior citizens”
  • The Comfortably Contents (19 percent), who relax, play, and say they’ll be seniors…soon
  • The Live for Todays (22 percent), who aren’t financially prepared for old age, though the mindset may be great psychologically
  • The Sick and Tireds (32 percent), who are “living the retirement nightmare”

Secondly, don’t treat us like we’re senior citizens. Most of us don’t even like to hear that term let alone be called one. We’re the first generation to be raised with broadcast TV so that in itself should help you understand our connection to what we see on television. Your marketing messages should take us back to a simpler time. Find a way to remind us of a nostalgic moment in our lives, something to show us that you value our generations’ past experiences over just trying to sell us your products.

Just like social media tells you to do, its about being human first and then comes the technology. There’s a lot to this getting older business. We believe there’s a certain grace to our aging and the sooner you all get on board, the more money your company will make.

Thank your for your time and attention to this matter – The Baby Boomers

PS Please explain to us about the two bathtubs sitting in the garden by the lake. We’ve asked all our friends, researched, Googled it but to no avail. Any help on this question would be greatly appreciated.

Photo Credit: GraceFoto



7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Ad Agencies from the Baby Boomers

  1. Fantastic letter.

    I don’t even know what else to say, honestly, except that marketers can certainly be clueless ( I’ve had to associate with them before).

    I won’t pretend to be all in the know about the lives of people over 50 (I’m 28), but you’ve just instilled more respect and understanding in me for the wiser folks in our society.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Posted by mikereverb | 03/01/2012, 5:07 pm
    • Thanks Mike! Glad that you liked the letter.

      I’m actually more in the Gen X age group but I’ve done some work with an active adult community and pulled this letter from my conversations with the people who live/work there. As a marketer myself, I think that we’re really missing out on a big group of consumers when we don’t market to the boomers in a way that connects with them.

      Posted by foxinteractive | 03/01/2012, 5:31 pm
  2. Loved the article! Also can answer the ps 🙂

    Posted by Dr Lane | 03/18/2012, 3:30 pm


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