'We Don't Do Anything to Remind Boomers They're Getting Older'

Having just turned 55 (and belated happy birthday), Terry Teachout links to an item in the Wall Street Journal that explores how boomers, as they get older never like to be called…old.


As Terry writes, “I read a sobering piece the other day about how boomers are so reluctant to admit the fact of their inexorably increasing age that marketers have been forced to accommodate them by resorting to what can only be described as systematic euphemism:”

The generation that sent diaper sales soaring in the 1960s, bought power suits in the 1980s and indulged in luxury cars in the 2000s is getting ready to retire: The oldest boomers turn 65 this year. To accommodate their best customers’ needs, American companies are overhauling product lines, changing their marketing and redesigning store layouts.But there’s a catch: Baby boomers, famously demanding and rebellious, don’t want anyone suggesting they’re old.

“We don’t do anything to remind boomers that they are getting older,” says Ken Romanzi, North America chief operating officer at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., which has targeted the health-conscious generation as its primary consumer base….

Bathroom-fixture maker Kohler Co. struggled to come up with a more palatable word for “grab bar,” which boomers resist. It introduced the “Belay” shower handrail–named for the rock-climbing technique–which blends subtly into the wall of a tiled shower. “When you say, ‘We’ve got beautiful grab bars,’ [boomers] just say, ‘Naw,’ because they don’t want to identify as needing that,” says Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at Kohler’s design center.


Perhaps rock musicians, trapped in a genre that once worshiped youthful rebellion (and now typically represent neither of those ideals) have been the hardest hit of all. Comedian Tim Hawkins has some suggestions to help them match their lyrics with their current station in life:

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(Found via Canadian blogger Binky at Free Canuckistan. For more links than anyone not named Glenn Reynolds should legally be allowed to post, click over to the Binkmeister’s site and just keep scrolling.)


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