Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boomers, Gen X, Demographics and Discrimination


I came across a Gen Y (Millenial) post about how she feels Gen X is not enough of a team player to be as relevant as her Gen Y group, a more idealistic, optimistic demographic which understands that it's Idealism that changes the world. I'm sorry, but being an evil Gen Xer, I missed that memo. You wouldn't know it's my generation that's accepted Yoko Ono's conceptual art as being real art. It's just that each time we openly display any of that Idealism which we hold dear to our sensitive little hearts, we were crushed by the Boomers as acting wimpy. The 13thers are not allowed to be Idealists because Boomers wrote the book of fate that says our demographic is supposed to be a bunch of slackers. Boomers are the Idealists, and we're supposed to stick to their script. They say 51 million of us deserve what's coming to us, none of it good. What a tragedy Gen Y plays right into their bullying game.

This is what's wrong with demographics and generational timetables: It's basically your legal form of segregation and discrimination. You can teach people that all generations fall under a certain archetype (one of 4, like the Greek Temperaments or Jungian (Myers-Briggs) Archetypes). It's a little like astrology if we let the Forer effect take place and have Boomers and Gen Y gang up on Gen X because it's already been written (by Boomer demographics experts) that the bullying is because of something we are, and we bring it on ourselves. We can rationalize without real thinking or caring, that the reason Gen X isn't as much of a "team player" as Gen Y is that we're self-absorbed, even if the truth may be something else, different for everyone (imagine that - complexity in being human). As a group, it may be true we're not as impressionable and maleable - easy to manipulate as Gen Y, precisely because we see through the whole demographics thing as being controlling and evil. It's just another manmade entity to try to control our thoughts and behaviors. Predict? No, control, to sell to us, to profit off of us, and worst, to keep us all segregated.

This is why Gen X as a demographic group can be all over the map, crossing over neat little racial, sexual and age lines, frustrating those who'd like for their great modern day achievement, demographics, to live on forever as a viable truth. It won't - it's already outdated, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

So, when I buy Rock Princess perfume and get berated by Boomer marketing gurus on the perfume forums for having bad taste, it's only because I'm crossing a line they'd rather I didn't cross. Besides, all of Gen X is branded by Boomers as having bad taste, so the Boomers can brand themselves as the real trendsetters. It's no wonder fashion's been the ugliest it's been in a long time. The Boomer sense of aesthetics is nothing more than materialistic and consumer-driven, far from artistic, never new and inspiring but based on a tired formula. I'll bet sales will improve once you stop giving them "creative control". Oh, and it's time we demolished the age old demographics system, and market to a general audience and let us decide what - music, clothing, perfume, movies, foods, cars, technology - we want to consume. Stop offending your consumers by telling them they shouldn't like what they like, and they'll actually consume more, minus guilt trips and negative self images.

Demographics - Marketing, Not Apartheid, www.timmanners.com
Relevant brands often find their focus within a key demographic group but do not shape their strategies purely on issues of age, gender, ethnicity, or income. Sometimes the result is surprising, but, more important, it is also a growth driver for the brand.

Life Imitates Art...and Marketing - www.my-head-space.com

People discussing demographics and segregation on Yahoo Ask

Generational Archetypes on Wikipedia

Read more about Generational Theory:

Background on Generation Theory - Generation Watch

Generations - www.jamesgoulding.com

Generations and Archetypes - www.fourthturning.com

Gen X Speaking Out! - Commentary and analysis of the correlation between Jungian (Myers-Briggs) archetypes and generational timetables - Pink Manhattan blog

Update! July 2, 2009: Generation Theory = Jungian Archetypes - Pink Manhattan blog