60 is the new 60: Marketing to Boomers

English: Ellecid.com skinny jeans, flap back p...
English: Ellecid.com skinny jeans, flap back pocket, front patch pocket, form fitted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Madison Avenue has long bypassed the 60+ market in favor of targeting the more desirable (i.e. “younger”) consumer demographics. Advertisers avidly pursue  20-50 year olds as they vocaciously consume their way  through  singledom,  new couplehood and marriage and, finally, family and home building. These are the demos who buy, buy, buy.

Those 50 and over, not so much. Conventional wisdom has it that that once we’re past parenting, we are done shopping or at least done shopping for anything new. Presumably, boomers are  branded for life and we can’t be persuaded to change our laundry detergent let alone our fashion choices.

That was the old 60. The new 60 is shop till you drop. Boomers are the generation that has reinvented reinvention. We are not sitting and watching the world go by.We travel constantly,  not on senior cruises but on bike tours through Italy or France or on a group climbing tour of Machu Pichu.  We are constantly in the throes of  remodeling and facelifts-both of our  homes and our bodies. From backyards to Botox, we are upgrading and improving.

Two recent personal discoveries have me more convinced than ever that the nobluehairs of my generation are going to make some marketers and manufacturers very rich. But only those who  start watching what we’re doing instead of clinging to doddering stereotypes.

Anecdotal evidence #1: Curly  hair.  Admiring my son’s girlfriend’s gorgeous corkscrew locks and my own dried out fuzz, I ask what she does. She turns me on to the world of Curly Girls who have forsworn shampoo for no-poo, have given up sulfates and silicon hair products for deeply moisturizing potions. I head to my local beauty supply story and discover Deva Curl — with their no-shampoo shampoos and leave on conditioning products. All of a sudden, I am a Curly Girl.My dry, frizzy locks are softer than they have been in years. So, what if I have an abandoned gallon vat of Nexxus Shampoo in my shower. I have changed brands.  Yes, I am spending more money on these specialty products. Yes, it’s worth it.

Anecdotal evidence #2: Jeans.  We all have our favorite pair of jeans. When the jeans fit, we buy several pairs. And so it came to pass that I discovered I had accidentally become a wearer of “mom jeans.” The world had moved to skinny jeans and I was stuck with straight legs. I went to Lucky Brands and tried, rather squeezed, myself into my first pair of skinny jeans. I looked like a stuffed sausage. It was horrifying. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to wrestle on another pair.

And yet, I persisted. I found a better fitting pair at Gap. It no longer looked so strange to see these new proportions. Not only that, but I suddenly felt young and stylish without having my blubber runneth over the top. I actually felt thinner.  I branched out to skinny cords. Then a pair of skinny khakis. But more change awaited. Skinnies don’t fit outside your boots, you have to tuck them inside. Suddenly, I was was vamping around in skinny jeans snugly hugged inside knee high boots.

Marketers—are you listening? I was SHOPPING. Yes, I was buying new stuff when you thought I was done with fecklessly following fashion. The new agers are not just Chicos shoppers searching for elastic waist pants and artful baggy tops. We also shop at Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, H&M and more. We are not done with style.

Want to get our attention, Marketers? Want to successfully sell to our disposable income crowd? Please don’t just create ads with young people prancing around. Show us fit and  fashionable people our age. We can still prance, I promise. And more than that, you’ll be rewarded with our gratitude. And our business.


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