The Boomer-Plus Generation: aged 50 and over and born 1940 or later
The original Baby Boom definition was purely demographic: Americans born 1946 through 1964. But the term Boomer quickly evolved beyond a simple date stamp into a socio-cultural concept – one which marketers used as a stepping stone to the later Generation X and Millennial definitions.
B4B defines the socio-cultural Boomer generation as beginning in 1940, when the depression era decline in the US birth rate finally rebounded. Except for a couple of temporary dips, it rose steadily to peak in the mid 1950s.
The new paradigm recognizes that Americans born 1940-1945 grew up in exactly the same dynamic culture as their slightly younger siblings, one shaped by television, technological progress, prosperity and optimism.
The Boomer-Plus Generation definition resolves a paradox. Many culturally transformative Boomers were born 1940 through 1945, including:
Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Chevy Chase, George Lucas, Gladys Knight, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim “The Doors” Morrison, Jerry “Grateful Dead” Garcia, Simon and Garfunkel, all The Beatles and all The Monkees.
Traditionalists shove these icons into the so-called Silent Generation(≈1925-1945.) Yeah, right, Jimi Hendrix, silent – just another laid back big band crooner.
Boomer-Plus Generation: shared strands of social DNA
Of course, Boomer-world has many sub-groups and segments – we’re not a one size fits all community. But despite some differences between leading edge Boomers and those born after the 1950s we share five vital strands of social DNA – attitudes, expectations and experiences that bind us together.
- Adaptability/reinvention … Embracing change, confident there is always “a great big beautiful tomorrow” thanks to technology (HT Disneyland’s 1967 Carousel of Progress)
- Fear of war at home … Until 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Iron Curtain bloc unraveled, Boomers lived under the threat of nuclear attack.
- The golden era of television … Boomers and TV grew up together.
- The Peter Pan syndrome … A new concept – the teenager – arrived in the 1950s, just in time to provide a platform for a lifelong Boomer preoccupation with youthfulness.
- Backlash after age 50 … Uncool after age 50, we become increasingly invisible to many mainstream marketers. According to group-think, our attitudes, brand loyalties and buying decisions no longer adapt, so why “waste” advertising dollars on us?
A bigger, more affluent market than any EU country
In 2015, Gen Xers born in 1965 cross the 50th birthday threshold to swell the Boomer-Plus Generation to 93 million. They qualify, first, because they grew up in the context of Boomer-world and, second, because at age 50 they drop off the mainstream advertising radar screen, discarded like the Boomers before them.