Are the baby-boomers, as a generation, ever going to grow up before they die?
I keep seeing advertisements from financial service companies, all apparently aimed at baby-boomers in their fifties. Without exception, all the ads have the same theme and tone. They use a lot of sixties imagery and they all basically say, “We’re really sorry you had to accept responsibilities and have made enough money that you need to invest it but we know deep down you’re just the same wild irresponsible person you were when you were 20!” One ad features singer Paul McCartney as a “rock star,business tycoon, philanthropist and Knight.” See, if somebody as cool as McCartney can pay attention to business and money then, by golly, boomers can too!
It’s as if the financial service industry thinks it has to apologize to the baby-boomers for bringing up the unpleasant subject of money and thereby implying that the boomers are not motivated by pure idealism. You would think they were talking to a medieval nobleman or a samurai! Since many different companies use the same theme, you can bet that their marketing researchers have all independently discovered that this is the message that the boomers want to hear.
The boomers’ obsession with the ’60s and their youth gives off the same kind of creepy vibe as the fat middle-aged man sitting in his basement den, drinking beer while surrounded by his high-school sporting trophies. They think they hit their peak in their early 20s and that it has just been downhill from there. Their positive self-image is attached wholly to their collective narcissistic youth and not to their families, careers or individual accomplishments.
The ads show that boomers do not want to think of themselves as responsible, temperate people who get the job done. They would rather think of themselves as forever-free-spirited children. Too bad life isn’t like that.
Grow up and die already.
[Note: I should add the disclaimer that by baby-boomers I actually mean a large subset of the actual age cohort. Not all members of the cohort behave in this way but unfortunately, as evidenced by the ads, they are representative of the generation .]