Boomers Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan Causing Cognitive Dissonance On Madison Avenue

Some Boomers are more equal than others

Let’s face it, we Boomers are ageists.

At the Apple Store, we make a bee-line for the geekiest kid we can find. Electronics? Geeky kids? No brainer.

And at Home Depot we track down the most grizzled veteran in the place. A beard, some heft and a name like Earl are extra credentials. Because when we are spending big bucks on things that aren’t updated from the cloud every second week – serious stuff, like chain saws, water heaters and barbecues – we trust the old-timers.

A new Nielsen survey suggests this behavior is something all generations can relate to, Millennials included.

Celebrity N ScoresIt reports the two most likable and influential  spokespeople on television are Boomers – actually, five of the top ten. Nielsen notes “younger generations are most likely to be influenced by celebrity endorsements.” 

Nielsen’s analysis of endorser awareness, likeability and influence generates an N-Score, figured on a scale from 1 to 100.

Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan, both 62, are tied at the top of the list with an N-Score of 94.

Liam Neeson_Pierce BrosnanIt’s pretty clear, like most Boomers, Neeson and Brosnan have earned their wrinkles. And, like Jeff Bridges, Dennis Haysbert and J. K. Simmons, they look like guys who know more about grown-up life than your average wassup bro? 30-something stereotypes who populate so much TV advertising these days.

So, it’s not surprising Madison Avenue recognizes their enormous endorsement value. But what is surprising is that Madison Avenue does not also recognize the enormous purchasing power of Boomer consumers. Regular folk over age 50 are off the radar.

After we leave – we prefer graduate from – the 18-49 demographic, adland does not consider us worth targeting. Unlike cool Pierce and brooding Liam, we are no longer seen as adaptable.

Comedy_TragedyLet’s see if we’ve got this right. Boomers can morph into pretty much any persona and persuade consumers to switch brands, but Boomers themselves are incapable of change.

It’s cognitive dissonance on steroids.

Meanwhile, back at the hardware store…

Recent data from the Harvard’s Joint Center For Housing Studies (JCHS) estimates 2015 remodeling / home improvement sales will exceed $300 billion. Americans in the 50+ space – a group which includes older Gen Xers this year – will account for around two-thirds, some $195 billion.

Home inprovement sales 2015 by generationSo we can add home improvements to the long list of categories in which older Americans generate amazing revenue.

Whether it’s sales of automobiles, travel, CPG,  data tablets or smartphones, Boomers either dominate or represent the fastest growing segment. Despite this, many mainstream brands simply ignore us.

Hmm. We certainly wouldn’t want to be the ones to tell Liam “I will find you and I will kill you” Neeson that he is being dissed in his off-screen life.

Engaging Boomers requires a dialog coach

The Boomer-Plus Generation™, born 1940-1965, is 93 million strong and controls over 70% of U.S. household net worth. That’s a bigger “country” than Germany, France or the UK and a population which would qualify as the world’s 15th largest – the 15th Nation.

Perhaps one reason these alpha-consumers are under-represented in advertising is that younger marketers are not fluent in Boomer-speak.

That’s understandable, because this special dialect, acquired over a lifetime of cultural and social adaptation, is ripe in code-words, symbolism and context. Learning it requires expert dialog coaches who speak it as their native language – in other words, Boomers.

Just page us and we’ll be there to help: “Earl, Earl, come in Earl – Millennial copywriter needs assistance on aisle 50”

Boomer Dennis Haysbert

Boomer - neXt SM logo_MMOriginally published as a Boomer-Plus Consulting Group post; in September, 2017, we up-branded as Boomer / neXt to welcome the 4 million Gen Xers who join the Boomers in the 50+ space each year.

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