Throughout their lifetimes, Baby Boomers have been a force to be reckoned with in terms of advertising and marketing. Games, cereals, snack foods, beverages, toys, clothing, sporting goods, educational aids, and so much more started appearing in the fifties and have continued in various forms to the present – adjusting for time and age in the process.
While Millennials outnumber Boomers as a generation and are receiving a large share of advertising emphasis, the Boomers have not been forgotten. The advertisers have just changed gears. Little League baseball, PeeWee football, and many other sports seemed to have their origin about the time young Boomers were ready to take advantage of them. On the other hand, many other recreational, music, and technological devices seem to have been introduced in the quarter-century to appeal more to the Millennials.
Regardless, Boomers, as they have moved along the time continuum from the mid-nineteen forties to today have had TV, radio, and print (including direct mail and outdoor advertising) marketing appealing to their purchasing needs. Those needs have gotten more mature along with their generation. Items important for raising a young family aren’t important anymore except as they relate to grandchildren. Many recreational and sports equipment – especially active, participation sports – aren’t in as much demand. Of course, virtual reality and technology have had a major impact on what all of (regardless of age) we perceive we need and what we desire to purchase and use.
For years, retirement planning, health insurance, life insurance, family vacations and other messages were aimed at a maturing Boomer population that mostly had not reached age fifty. Now even the youngest Boomer is in their early fifties (with the oldest ones in the early seventies) so the messages have changed, and we don’t see those same ones anymore. Current media messages for Millennials seem to be much different than they were for Boomers at that same age. This is understandable because they are growing up in a world much different than their parents and grandparents.
Today, the messages aimed at the senior population, because all Boomers are seniors at least by the AARP definition, are ones for mobility (canes), diabetes testing and supplies, vitamins and supplements, anti-aging cremes and treatments (to keep everyone looking as young as they feel), balding treatments, vision enhancement, hearing improvement, and cautionary information on many serious ailments including Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, COPD, and several others. There are so many conditions that now have well-recognized initials that represent them.
There are seemingly back-to-back-to-back Medicare insurance ads during the fall when open enrollment (from October to early December) and fewer of them but still a lot during the rest of the year because some 10,000 people in the US are turning 65 each day and will approach one-fifth of the population by the end of the twenties decade.
Getting away from the health-related messages – including the insurance, nutrition supplements, and the appearance enhancements – there are many other messages that are financial in nature. These include investments (including precious metals such as gold and silver), planning for final expenses, where to invest (for those still looking for an investment strategy), and vacations. Occasionally, an ad appears that talks about the great lifestyle that can be enjoyed either at an assisted living or life care facility or in purchasing in a dedicated 55 and over community.
Look for more products to be developed for the sixty- and seventy-year-old groups to take up the slack in sales that are no longer being made to them at younger ages simply because they have moved on. They no longer are purchasing consumer products that were appropriate for them in their thirties and forties – and that they were interested in obtaining. Now, merchandisers will have to appeal to a much more mature market with needs that have changed a little as well. Their needs and desires won’t be the same as their parents, but neither will they mirror what was noticed a decade or two earlier.
Expect to see more products useful for maintaining good physical, sensory, and cognitive health (including good nutrition, exercise, and controlling weight), for clothing with fabrics, color, and patterns that blend younger tastes with an older appearance, and for home appliances (kitchen gadgets, major appliances, and grooming aids). Products already on the market that have been well-received by mature audiences may be welcomed by the Boomers as they transition into this age segment, but there could be some disconnect as well. This is where some innovation is going to be needed and embraced.
There likely will be new products, companies, and services created to appeal to the seniors and their desire to remain active and also to have the resources available to help them age in place in their homes.