Skip to comments.When They Grow Up (Aging Baby Boomers are in denial about getting old)
Posted on 02/11/2011 7:09:36 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Companies are quietly redesigning their products to accommodate the needs of (shh, dont say it aloud) aging baby boomers. So reports the Wall Street Journal. The generation that sent diaper sales soaring in the 1960s, bought power suits in the 1980s and indulged in luxury cars in the 2000s is getting ready to retire: The oldest boomers turn 65 this year. . . . But theres a catch: Baby boomers, famously demanding and rebellious, dont want anyone suggesting theyre old.
Marketers, always alert to the sensitivities of this most self-absorbed of cohorts, are developing products and shopping environments that will appeal to the needs of, let us say, ripening baby boomers without ever using the o word. Surreptitiously, companies are making typefaces larger, lowering store shelves to make them more accessible and avoiding yellows and blues in packaging two colors that dont appear as sharply distinct to older eyes.
It may be autumn for the boomers, but its springtime for the marketing euphemists. Bathroom-fixture maker Kohler, the WSJ reports, set its wizards the task of renaming the grab bar a shower fixture for, shall we say, experienced bathers. They came up with belay (after the mountaineering term), and designed it to blend unobtrusively into the tile wall. Whether Kohler considered that mature eyes might not be able to find the subtle belay in an emergency we dont know.
Maybe we should be grateful for euphemisms in a culture that is otherwise awash in vulgarity. But really Low T? Youve seen the commercials, Im sure. Millions of men 45 and older just dont feel like they used to, it begins. Remember when you had more energy for 18 holes with your buddies? More passion for the one you love? Well, dont blame it on aging, Abbott Laboratories advises. Call your doctor, because what in other times and places was considered normal is now a treatable condition called low testosterone or low T. If at 55 you dont feel 19, call your doctor and get a drug to fix it.
More-tempered women present even greater challenges for marketers. Boomer women, a business website reminds readers, constitute 37 percent of those online, and women in general make 80 percent of household purchasing decisions. In order not to offend these potential customers, the site advises avoiding the words senior, older women, silver surfers or silver anything, and particularly grandma, grandmother, grandparents, grannies. Boomer gals, we learn, are happy to lipo, pull, tighten, and do just about anything on earth to avoid being asked that dreaded question, Would you like the senior discount?
Maybe its the plastic surgery, or maybe its just denial, but boomers seem a tad unrealistic about where they fit into the life cycle. When casting for recent Depend ads, the Journal reports, the brand looked for actors who appeared to be in their early 50s . . .Despite concerns inside the company that the actors were too young to be believable, focus groups of boomers didnt mind a bit. Which may explain why the actors in denture commercials are all in their 50s too.
For an entire cohort to go through life tagged as babies may have had some infantilizing effects over the years. An AARP commercial aimed at baby boomers uses the what do you want to be when you grow up? trope for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. One says he wants to work with children, another that he wants to fix up old houses. She wants to run a marathon. Hes going to start a band. AARP believes youre never done growing.
Actually, yes you are. Youre a grownup at 21. People continue to change and improve (some go in the other direction), but they are no longer growing. Boomers need to get a grip or a belay on the facts of life. Run your marathon if you want to, but youve been grown up for decades!
Yet why single out boomers? No one these days is encouraged to act his age. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company recommends sending stuffed animals to grown women for Valentines Day. There are also ads for hoodie/footie pajamas for people who havent waited up for Santa in well over a decade. The sexual innuendo in the ads doesnt counteract the fact that they are peddling gifts more appropriate for six-year-olds.
The styles that are marketed to tween girls those between 10 and 12 on the other hand, are all about premature sexuality. Why is it so hard to get this right?
Age matters. Whats right at 20 is not right at 60 or 10. The only dignified way to navigate through lifes stages is not to deny that.
Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.
I admit it, I’m old.
But that’s no reason to get out of shape, or stop reading and thinking. I have redoubled my efforts in both areas.
So the old folks demanded this? They picketed and begged not to be called "old"? *sigh* Marketing gimmicks are not the fault of the public.
you hear people on TV saying 60 is the new 40, right???
in my case 62 is the new 82
now if my doctors would give me HGH(they look at me funny when I ask), I might allow myself to be deluded into thinking I wasn't getting old.
“But thats no reason to get out of shape, or stop reading and thinking. I have redoubled my efforts in both areas.”
Me too. At 51 I am still within 5 pounds of what I weighed when I was 21. But I can’t do everything I did 30 years ago (and probably shouldn’t have then, either).
I like to say that “Maturity is the acceptance of an ever lengthening list of limitations.” Some of our generation needs a lot of maturity.
I’m a Boomer. Yes, stay active, in shape, engaged and ready to learn new things. Always.
Age is just a number.
Aging gracefully is something that requires ‘character’ and that is something which has been bred out of most Americans (beginning with but not exclusive to Baby Boomers)!!
I admire the Boomers for not just getting “old” and gathering dust.
When my grandmother was 65 she couldn’t even imagine running. Now I see 65 year olds running in 25K races with as much drive as 22 year olds.
I look at pictures of my granddad when he was the age I am today & its hard to believe.
All I can say is if boomers can’t accept aging, there will be even more hell to pay from the spoiled brats in the follow on generations. They barely accepted being young.
Oh, it’s just a phase. You get used to it and embrace the fact you aren’t a young fool anymore.
Instead you are an old fool. LOL
I believe that the 60's hippies are who these people are addressing. You've seen the Grandpas with the ponytails and their wives trying to look like they did in the 60's.
Ha! When I was 21, I had the body of a fat slob. Now, 36 years later, I weigh 20 pounds less and have the body of a gym rat.
On the other hand, I can’t read Latin and Greek as easily as I could then.
I’ll be 52 in April, don’t look it or feel it. I still have a 9 and 7 yr old at home.
I stay in shape, my hair is still cut in a long auburn shag, and I wear what I want.
I also still attend college classes.
Age is not a number to tell you when you should roll over and die. It’s the time you spend living....
I will be 64 in May. I now have the time to be involved in church work and political activism. I enjoy being older,hopefully wiser and more able to contribute to things that are truly worthwhile.
Signs of baby Boomers getting old yet in Denial:
1) Women wearing pants that say Juicy on the rear
2) Men STILL believing the Hooter waitress pouring their beer will go home with them and Light Their Fire
3) The Baby Boomer with the Micro Bus following the latest popular Jam Band—probably Phish—and telling every 20 something that Jerry is a better guitarist than Trey
4) Late 50 something women getting a Tramp Stamp
5) Baby Boomers who STILL vote Democrat
6) men with a ponytail and a bald head
7) baby Boomers who still attend drum circles on college campuses
8) Women who get every plastic surgery,face lift and facial injection in an attempt to make their 17 year old daughter’s boyfriend notice them.
9) Women wearing a Jonas Brother T-Shirt
10) Men who haven’ t hit the gym in a decade attempting to bench their weigh and blow out a pec muscle instead.
While I agree that the sex ads and other personal ads on TV are pretty disgusting, I’d find them disgusting no matter what age-group they were directed at.
But I don’t see why people should wither up and die at the age of 65. I don’t know how old Mona Charen is, but I’m sure she’d find it much more fun to be around an elderly mother, say, who was out running or taking part in events or learning a language or traveling and doing things than some self-absorbed lump who did nothing but become dependent and sit around obsessing on her aches and pains and her doctor’s visits.
There is a pervasive immaturity in American society. People just do NOT want to grow up.
Just look at the magazines, films, tv shows, advertising...etc.
To watch this stuff, you’d think everyone in the US if under 35.
I had to quit listening to the radio because those clowns talk like everyone on earth is 12 years old!!
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