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Is marketing to Baby Boomers just a myth?

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 commentator

Dallas, TX – This is the week that advertisers gather in New York to buy up almost 70% of the adverting for the fall season. I care not so much about the fall season as I do about the ads being sold. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Why is it that when I sit down for a relaxing evening of TV, most every time there's a commercial break, I feel ignored and neglected? I'm not 20 years old and I find it very hard to relate to purchasing beer based on the pretty babe in the background, impressed over my selection of beer.

See, most of the time I watch commercials more intently than I do the programming. I sit in judgment of these commercials as if I were on early American Bandstand. I like the beat, but I wouldn't buy it. I rejoice at that rare commercial with good comedic timing and creativity. But then that knot in my stomach begins to grow. Why can't I see anyone my own age in these commercials? Why must everyone be 25 years old?

So I was hoping I could find some answers by clicking on That's the website for the rag solely devoted to the who, what, where, and why of advertising. Turns out I'm not paranoid, nor am I alone in my frustration.

The sub-heading on the home-page about Boomers reads, "Marketers Should Heed Generation That's Richer and Willing to Spend." The article explains that yes, marketers are in fact "obsessed with youth." The fact that "older consumers may have more disposable income than their children" seems to mean nothing to the advertisers. describes that this fascination with youth "appears to be more on habit and theory." There is really no "quantifiable evidence - that younger consumers are more impressionable and aren't yet brand loyal."

Advertisers better look at changing this habit quickly. "Today, 38% of American adults are over 49, and that group will grow to just under 50% by 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau." And as per AARP, adults over fifty account for 70% of the country's net worth. That's a lot of buying power. We'll have to wait until fall to see if advertisers really did take heed. For KERA Marketplace Middays, I'm Maxine Shapiro.


Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 P.M.