Nielsen Neurofocus and Baby Boomers

By Larry Teren

Everyone is looking at baby boomers as if we are animals caged in a zoo. They stare from the outside and wonder if it is safe to go near us, examine, probe and try to understand us. In the past year we went from being another demographic segment of society to being the most critical from which all trends will derive for the next twenty years.     

A new report from Nielsen NeuroFocus out of Berkley, California (that in itself should tell you alot) indicates that the rules have been tossed out when it comes to baby boomer consumer research. We middle aged folk have a shorter attention span and we are more emotionally balanced (whatever that means).

The report also suggests that we tend to be able to adapt to change better than the younger folk. As a result, we can control our emotions better but get hoodwinked on positive advertising. I suggest maybe it has to do with the fact we grew up on happy, romantic movies and television plots rather than the aura of realism that pervades all arenas of entertainment nowadays.

The report says we don’t want to feel old or be treated as such. Advertisers should avoid stereotypes and using characters that feature older people. We are a little sensitive and don’t like to think of ourselves as old. (Well, what senior citizien ever felt that way?)

The article I took this from says that the latest statistics show baby boomers are on track to spend $7 billion online this year alone. Okay, I’ll buy into that if someone would guarantee me some income. I’ll be glad to share the new-found wealth.

In the meantime, I tend to read about baby boomers and the economy with a ‘well, what did you expect?’ shrug. For example, a recent article in the Washington Post mentioed that the Washington DC area has been suffering less from the economic meltdown than other parts of the country. Gee, I wonder why? Do you think it has to do with the bloated public service sector that is adding daily to the National Debt?

How about this one- AARP is worried about coming across as too partisan. Well, I thought that an organization whose premise is to be an advocate for senior citizen rights should not get involved in siding with any particular political party. Rather, it should expend its energy espousing the idea that senior citizen rights is an apolitical issue.

But, then again, being a baby boomer, my mind wanders and I don’t like talking about older people. And I prefer happy endings.

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