Saturday, October 18, 2008


Okay I'm in Ad school. I'm in a portfolio school to learn how to sell stuff creatively. I do a lot of concepting but I am also learning how companies think when they are marketing to segments of our population. There is a generational component to this. This component has given me grief and has made me cause many disruptions in class. Let me explain.

The three main "generations" being marketed to are the Baby Boomers, the Generation Xers, and the Millennials.

I know the boomers well. They are our parents. The hippie 60's generation. The first rock generation, the Viet-Nam survivors, we don't need to be reminded about them, they are in charge and they are arrogant and harder to define than you might think. They were hippies, they were yuppies, and they are afraid to grow old. It's easy to sell to them. I have issues with the boomers that I openly state. My generation has lived in their shadow for so long, but I love the music and culture of the 50's and 60's. I love the boomer cultural contribution and fully recognize how it has shaped my own life.

Then there is Generation X. It's seems we are forgotten before we even came of age. The new Lost Generation. What the fuck? In 1990 I remember this new cultural phenomenon where a new generation was finally recognized. But before we ever had a chance to become anything they go and create a new generation under us, the Millennials. Apparently the Boomers were sad about how horribly they treated the X generation that they got to have a whole new generation to become their children. A redo? Well fuck you. I wish more of you fuck asses died in Viet Nam!

Okay. I'll calm down. The Boomers didn't create this. It's a product of capitalism and marketing. The boomers were mistakingly given two generations of children, when culturally it's not quite real. I'm not saying Mellenials don't exist as their own separate generation, but they CAN NOT BE THE CHILDREN OF BOOMERS. One generation begets another, which means these children are the children of Xers. So the timespans of these generations need to be refigured.

Here is how they have it written now:

Boomers-44 to 62 years old
Xers- 31 to 43 years old
Millennials-13 to 30 years old

Both Millennials and Xers are said to be children of Boomers. Okay, I understand we are different culturally because of certain things. Thing like the fact that the kids today were born into technologies that the rest of us grew into. Still on a realistic cultural level this is not a way to define generations.

I am 36, but I do not think of a 26 year old as a different generation. The kids who are 21 years old and younger sure, they were made by the Xer's or late Boomers. The problem is that your 44 year olds were not really boomers either. They graduated in 1982 and loved punk rock. Viet Nam was not their war, those kids loved Duran Duran and Metallica. They were proto-Xers. It's their kids who are now in their late 20's and those kids are Millennials. The kids who fucked up in my high school and had babies the year of graduation, those kids are Millennials. I waited until I was 33 to have children. My son is a late Millennial and not whatever brand they want to place on him.

This is a subject of much debate because people have kids at different times in their lives and things, but I would say your individual generation is more or less the people 10 years older and 10 years younger than you.

But in marketing segmentation is important. I can go there too. I quit my job at the cafe because the kids who I would be hiring would have been born the year I graduated high school. If you were born in the 90's you truly never can remember the time before every human had their own phone, or DVD's or ipods, or the internet. When I was a kid I had to get up to change the channel.

I am raising the real next generation. I know lots of 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 year olds. Good kids. Good kids. Gen Xer's will raise good kids. Nerdy kids, who understand Star Wars as mythological allegory and strive to create a better world despite the utter failure of the baby boomers. Stupid Baby Boomers.


belsum said...

And our kids won't shoot up schools because we'll actually be parents to them and not try to be their friends instead. How come no one ever brings up the fact that the Columbine age kids are the ones in college now, shooting up the VA Tech?

But that's a rant for another day.

LAP said...

In a weird way I think that the Boomers have two generations of kids because of the divorce rate, but I do agree with what you've said too because our generation is just as spread out age-wise with all the 8 kid families spread out over 13 years of childbirth etc.

belsum said...

You know, I brought up that second marriage argument this weekend. Heh. Great minds?