Typically, when pop culture is mentioned, most people would immediately go to thoughts of twenty somethings. Perhaps thinking of Taylor Swift’s perennial breakup anthems, the frank forthright and often brutal comedy of people who will feature in the upcoming naked comedy showcase at ImprovBoston, or perhaps the rash of Scandinavian Noir gracing Netflix these days.
But when we consider who the true creators of pop culture are, we need go no further than the generation staring back at us from the mirror as we brush our teeth each morning.
This post examines the growing influence brought to bear with the Baby Boomers And The Economy………….
We boomers are the actual and original first consumer generation. We were incubated through the television age, watching mass media emerge from the first of the image boxes that would exert a dominance over time in our living rooms, providing visual and animated entertainment, which has to be acknowledged as embracing sex-driven, and racially integrated rock and roll, led by the vanguard of Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, The Stones and others. This post-war, latter half of the century, cultural revolution, was fed by the world’s, then emergent, and continuously growing mass audiences….us!
But then we grew up, we bought houses, we had children, and in turn those children headed off to college, university and adult life.
Our, boomer offspring are having their own broods now. What we are therefore experiencing is that for the first time in several decades, we find ourselves without dependents; we are in essence right back to being able to focus on ourselves, as we almost certainly did in our late teens and early twenties, and for many of us well into our early thirties.
We are a generation navigating toward our twilight years, with a newly developing concern to achieve and experience quality of life. In the US alone it is estimated, by some, that as much as 75 percent of that country’s wealth is in the hands of the Baby Boomer Generation.
It is really quite interesting to examine how we appear to be spending our retirement savings or discretionary income. Of course a continuing significant element is spoken for in the context of real life practicalities including; health, mortgages, and our millennial offspring’s tertiary education. It turns out also though, that many of us are taking the opportunity to live out some of our erstwhile, and until now, unrealisable fantasies of our seemingly long past youth.
This generation which some would say could be defined by Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” has only now began to indulge significantly in a travelling renaissance as retirees dominate boomer country highways in their motor homes or monopolise the once again growing sea cruise industry.
This sees those same men, who were perhaps once obsessed with 1950s and 60s-era muscle cars becoming, through retirement, in these early years of the 21st century, the most prolific of modern car buyers. This, at a time when those generations that have followed us, seem determined that we should all move toward a, petrol-motor-free, urban life. With the hope that, the yet to dominate E vehicle does indeed one day dominate. Surprisingly, as the developed country’s’ leading spenders on technology, we seem also to be facilitating the making of the science fiction, which we once pioneered, our new reality.
As our renewed spending abilities help us to reshape industries from Detroit to Silicon Valley and the wider world, it has become abundantly clear that boomers’ contemporary influence has also assumed an importance that is affecting the economy and culture.
The Contemporary Boomer Effect on Culture
We the Boomers are the first generation of Homonins on the planet to achieve 6 decades of quality life and still confidently expect many years ahead of us. There is an expectation that modern entertainment channels will be engaged in providing more content around topics which address the concept of naturally maintaining thoughts or dreams about what happens from 50 and beyond. Content that tells those stories that talk about continuing to want, and to have a need, for accomplishing meaningful things, while providing a legacy that will have left the world a better place than perhaps we found it.
Perhaps one of the most significant indications of our boomer renaissance evidenced in the last decade was, the quite marvellous, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; a movie comedy starring, amongst others, the Dames, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith with Bill Nighy, as three key figures in a cohort of British retirees on a relocation adventure to India. This 2011 movie had a production cost of $11 million and quadrupled that at the box office bringing home $45 million. Enough at any rate to attract what is often sees as the ultimate Hollywood seal of approval, a sequel, which of course was titled The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Boomers Reclaim Pop
And so, as we enter the third decade of the 21st Century, boomers continue to be engaged in a revival of entertainment that shaped much of our youth: film, rock and roll, pop and television. James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Thew Moody Blues and the Rolling Stones tour regularly. Bruce Springsteen, now 70, continues to entertain on the road and release new albums which address the process of aging while point-blank refusing to get sidelined. Rolling Stone, whose former editor-in-chief Jann Wenner is now 74 and only sold his share in the magazine in 2017, continued to chronicle the lives fortunes and misfortunes of these aging boomer rockers with passion up to that point.
Chris Kelly, Associate Professor of Gerontology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has been quoted as saying
“Bruce Springsteen, more than any boomer rocker, has managed to grow as an artist and age as an artist. That is something we haven’t seen in a rock star before, someone that has aged with his audience………..He is challenging his audience to embrace him as he is now.”
Springsteen’s album Wrecking Ball topped the charts in 2012 earning Springsteen $347 million on the album’s tour. Justin Bieber’s Believe tour in the same year only came in at $209 million, While Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters made nearly $460 million, and the Eagles made just over $250 million. Springsteen has since then released two more top ten Albums the last in 2019 ‘Western Stars’ acclaimed throughout the music industry
Appealing to The Boomer Influence
Television networks like CBS recognising the need targeted creation of more boomer oriented content, only to watch their ratings climb dramatically. The new median age of the broadcast television viewer is in their 50s, so TV companies and content creators, no great surprise are fishing where the fish are. Stars in TV shows are older, witness Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen in ‘Grace and Frankie’ a hugely popular show. Only a decade ago the networks were for ever seeking the next Friends to appeals to the thirty-something crowd. We are increasingly seeing significant numbers of actors who networks just wouldn’t have cast in shows in the previous two decades.
The spending and influence trends continue on an upward glide as we the boomers experience and witness our released discretionary spending ability. This is currently estimated at $7.1 trillion, and is estimated to rise to $13.5 trillion by 2032.
With Boomers discretionary spending sitting at $7.1 trillion rising to $13.5 trillion by 2032, the face of marketing and marketing targets are changing to match.
The business community has traditionally ignored seniors. The generation born before 1946 are often referred to as the silent generation. Until recently those of 50 and over may have been titled the invisible generation, as far as marketers were concerned.
Newer companies, such as the US based Link-Age, a research firm also investing in companies specialising in the hugely financially significant, aging customer segment, espouse a goal to persuade marketers to seriously reconsider and cater for this new older but influential population.
What is increasingly evident is a significant shift change in who is controlling the developed economies, a shift from parents to grandparents. However, in marked contrast to their geriatric forebears, baby boomers are using their money to buy a lot more than walking sticks and denture cleaner. We boomers are reliving the vibrant and not a care lifestyle of our younger working years.
A massively aging population is far more of an opportunity than it is a liability. Properly managed this could be a vibrant force for a new period of economic growth.
We Baby boomers are increasingly active in old age. We choose to travel more while forcing planners to rethink dramatically about the places in which we choose to live.
Urban cities all over the developed world are already remodelling with wider pavements to better accommodate our elderly and with bus routes tailored to achieve access to common needs, like pharmacies, medical centers and specialist clinics
Just by living longer, healthier lives than any previous population before us, we boomers are reshaping the world in an image to suit us so that we may enjoy it in a fitter, more vibrant, more mobile, more tailored to us, old age.
As Dame Judi tells us all in a scene from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sequel of which significantly stars 65 year old baby boomer Richard Gere as the heartthrob, “This is a new and different world, the challenge is to cope with it, and not just cope, but thrive.”
If ever there was a time to consider supplementing your income with that burgeoning target market at your finger tips, a market that you know and understand intimately, it is now!
Take a look at Wealthy Affiliate and understand how you can take advantage of this burgeoning market today.
I hope that you found this interesting and informative. Do leave comments and I guarantee to reply within one working day.
P.S. If this post has inspired you to become a Blogger yourself, and make money while you do it, you can find out how to do just that, by reading my post on Blogging for Business How To Go About It.
This includes an easy FREE method to get started and FREE hosting of a website upon which to base you Blog