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  • About Brent Green
    This blog is about Baby Boomer consumers and how to sell to them through marketing and advertising. I am a marketing consultant and author of two business books: "Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles, Practices, Predictions" and "Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future." I also present workshops and give speeches about the Boomer generation and business strategies. My company, Brent Green & Associates, Inc., is an internationally award-winning firm specializing in direct response marketing for health & fitness and Boomer-focused companies. Marketing to Boomers I welcome your comments and questions here. Please enjoy my blog commentary, which usually slides precariously on thin ice.

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    April 29, 2008

    Comments

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    denny a.

    i was born the same year as obama---1961---and i have no doubt in my mind that we are not baby boomers nor are we generation x'ers...we are part of generation jones, which is fundamentally differnt than those surrounding generations...i remember back in high school my classmates and i used to laugh about the silly notion that we were part of the baby boom generation, we never felt like boomers at all and had very different experiences than the boomers did...the boomers were 10-15 years older than us...obama is obviously a jonesr...there are x'ers who would like to claim him as one of theirs, but he is clearly not an x'er...my generation jones friends and i are proud that barack is our generation's first prez candidate...

    Emily Redman

    This is the third article I've read just in the last few weeks that argues that Senator Obama is a Generation Joneser, this idea certainly does seem to be catching on. This is a well-written blog, Mr. Green, and you lay out generational theory in an easily understandable way. Yes, Hillary is definitely a Boomer, and Obama a Joneser. And Obama is so not a GenXer, which I've sometimes seen said. I'm a Joneser, and am grateful that this whole Generation Jones movement is picking up so much steam. It was utterly ridiculous that those of us born, like me, in the early 1960's were ever called Boomers. Then some started calling us Xers. Absurd! I am not a Boomer or Xer! I am proudly part of Generation Jones, and I'm convinced that it is inevitable that the old definition of Boomers (1946-1964) which is already dying, will be dead within a couple years as Generation Jones becomes more entrenched.

    ElectionExaminer

    Excellent article, Brent Green. You articulate what many of us are enthusiastically supportive of: that there is a Generation Jones, and that Barack Obama is a member of it. I've been heartened to see the increasing number of articles that have been appearing making this same argument about Obama being a Joneser.

    Fortunately, there appears to be a consensus of sorts which is growing about all this, as I see more and more experts and media types jumping on this "Jones Bandwagon". Naturally, a transformative idea like this will have its detractors but the reaction to Generation Jones has been overwhelmingly positive, with very few people arguing against it (your blog seems to have attracted a couple of detractors, but when you research the reaction to Generation Jones on search engines, you find that there are far more positive comments than the occasional negative one).

    This is because it is true that this lost generation between Boomers and Xers does, in fact, exist (just ask people born between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s if they relate to this, and you'll see the truth of the Generation Jones concept, and why it is being so enthusiastically accepted).

    As far as the proper birth years for Boomers and Jonesers, I believe Boomers began in the early 1940s, around 1942 or 1943, while Jonesers started in the mid-1950s, around 1954 or 1955.

    Chuck Nyren

    Give this Joneser 1965. But he only gets half of '55, '56, '57.

    Likewise, we'll take only half of '40, '41, '42.

    And Leave It To Beaver was a great show. And The Brady Bunch sucked.


    Brent Green

    Mr. Nyren, you make many good points about the differences between generational affiliation by birth year and affiliation by identification. Some Americans today identify with the values of the Missionary Generation, 1860 to 1882, another "profit generation" in the constructs of authors Strauss & Howe. They are known today as members of the FLDS Church.

    Mr. Pontell will quickly give you 1942 through 1945 as Baby Boomer years, having noted that so many born in these years were very much part of the cultural revolution we call the sixties. (As David Wolfe has observed, the “thought leaders” of the consciousness revolutions of the sixties tended to be members of the late Silent Generation: Gloria Steinem, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, etc.

    Pontell will duke it out with you for 1955, however. He conjectures that if you were born in 1955 or later, you were not eligible for the draft and possible conscription into military service in Vietnam. My counterargument is that males born in 1955 went entirely through high school with the possibility of the draft looming in the background, in addition to being surrounded by the most strident cultural influences of the sixties and early seventies, including the Kent State shootings. (The United States discontinued the draft in 1973. Those born in 1955 were 18 that year.)

    Karl Mannheim and other sociologists believe that the critical years influencing generational consciousness and identification occur between 15 and 18, when we’re in high school. However, those who are betwixt and between major generational shifts in consciousness tend to be variable about generational identification, as you expertly note in your comments.

    Mr. Pontell also grabs 1965 from the GenXers, further swelling the Joneser ranks to dominant demographic proportions, as our worthy colleague sees it.

    Chuck Nyren

    Let’s split hairs. And have some innocent, irrelevant, and ultimately meaningless fun:

    Mr. Pontell wants a large slice of the pie – as we all do. I’ll challenge the size of his slice – while giving him much credit where much credit is due.

    The "baby boom" actually began in 1943 when birth rates began to rise, dipping slightly in 1944 and 1945. But there is a gray area between 1939-1942 where culturally people split. I’ve know so many folks who are now 63 to 67 or so and they secretly call themselves Baby Boomers because they were on the cutting edge of whatever you want to define as the cutting edge of the 1960s.

    You, Mr. Green, have more in common not only with people born between 1946-54 – but many, many people born between 1939 and 1945. I think whatever you are defining as Leading-Edge is bigger than you think.

    Then there is another gray area: 1955-57. If you told our friend Lenny Steinhorn (b. 1955) that he wasn’t a Baby Boomer, I bet he’d throw a fit. My sister was born in 1955. She’s a Baby Boomer through and through. I have a few friends born up to 1957 who are without a doubt Baby Boomers.

    However – my more-significant-than-I-am other, whom you know, considers herself a Joneser. She was born in 1955. I had a brother who passed away recently. He was born in 1957 – and a perfect example of someone with a foot on each sides of the stream. I have another brother born in 1959 and if there ever was a Generation Joneser – it is this guy. Duel GJ poster boys, he and Jonathan.

    So two gray areas: 1939-1942 – and 1955-57.

    I’ll be happy to meet Mr. Pontell in a back alley and duke it out with him for those two middle years in the 1950s. Whoever wins may claim them as his own. If I win, his slice is paltry compared to ours - so root for me, Mr. Green.

    But even if I lose – “Baby Boomers” - many born between 1939-42 and definitely born between 1943-45 - added to the ones born between 1946 and 1954 – put his Jonesers to shame number-wise.

    Generation Jones: 1958-1964

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