Tommy Telephone (b. 1947)

Tommy Telephone, a Baby Boomer cartoon character animated in 1947, shows us how to build a then state-of-the-art telephone by assembling its 433 pieces.

(Hey, why not? It's Friday!)

Blog: The Savvy Boomer

Please allow The Boomer Beat to introduce you to one of the best Baby Boomer blogs it has found to date, The Savvy Boomer.

Take some time and have a look around there. The topics are wide-ranging. You will certainly find something useful.

Harley-Davidson, Women--and Wrinkles?

As previously noted, marketers seem a bit uncertain about how to target and pursue the huge Baby Boomer demographic. Tailoring Messages to a New Audience: Wrinkled Baby Boomers, a New York Times article, reinforces that assessment. To quote excerpts:

"YOUNG LOVE," the longtime siren song of Madison Avenue, is being remixed as marketers increasingly turn their attention to consumers born when "45" meant music rather than the number after 44 and "Apple" meant fruit.

Not every marketing maneuver aimed at older consumers is wildly successful. For example, the trade publication Advertising Age reported last week that a new line of anti-aging products sold by Unilever under the Dove Pro-Age name is being outsold by a similar line of products sold by Procter & Gamble under the Olay Definity brand.

The Pro-Age line drew widespread attention for ads of nude grandmothers, tastefully photographed by Annie Leibovitz. The article in Advertising Age wondered whether the Dove ads "went a step too far in embracing aging in all its naked, wrinkled and sagging glory"; the ads for Olay Definity are more conventional.

The Boomer Beat finds the information about Dove's Pro-Age line of cosmetics interesting. Although sales figures tend not to lie, only positive comments about the advertising campaign from Baby Boomer women have been heard to date. In fact, as a male I found the campaign featuring older women both tasteful and refreshing. The women in the ads would be considered beautiful at any age.

And mature women on Harley-Davidson motorcycles? Now that is sexy.

Read the entire article here...

Baby Boomers Online, But Not Socializing?

They have never really figured us out, and still cannot. (They? Marketers.)

In the rapidly expanding world of online social networking, "baby boomer" has become the latest buzz term.

Once seen as the exclusive realm of teens and college students, social networking sites catering to those kids' parents and elders have been amassing on the Web. What isn't clear is whether that graying generation wants a Web site of its own.

Despite receiving backing from venture capitalists, most social networking sites for baby boomers don't command the kind of traffic MySpace and Facebook do among people 45- to 64-years old, according to data supplied by online metric company comScore Inc.

Continued here...


By now, we should all know about the infamous Nigerian money scams. However, as P.T. Barnum duly noted a century ago and which still applies today, "There's a sucker born every minute." That means someone today will again lose money to internet fraud. (Although I do not have them right at hand, the statistics are sobering.)

What's a body to do? First, always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it very likely is. But also, a joint project by the U.S. Postal Service, the National Consumers League and other consumer groups--the Fake Check Campaign (FakeChecks.org)--has it as their mission to get the word out on check fraud, which comes in several forms, fake foreign lotteries, scheming suitors and phony work at home businesses, to name a few.

The Boomer Beat recommends that you take just a few minutes and drop by FakeChecks.org and tune-up your scam radar. Even after being on the internet for the past 20 years, I occasionally see an offer (or just a subject line) that grabs my attention. No, I have never fallen for such a scam, but the fact that an attempt even gets my attention is testament to scams' current levels of sophistication and apparent credibility.

In the words of Phil from the old Hill Street Blues TV program, "Let's be careful out there."

Additional links: Fraud.org; 2006 Top 10 Internet Scams!; FBI Overview of Internet Fraud; Internet Financial Scams; Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3); LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com


The Perspectives Project

Excerpted from the press release:

The Perspectives Project, part of SocialMaturity.com, is an outreach program designed to enable those of boomer age and beyond to preserve their stories online for younger generations. The Perspectives Project encourages [the posting of] videos that are informative about life in the early to mid 20th century.

Unlike FaceBook, MySpace and YouTube, videos of television shows, commercials, dogs on skateboards, and mattress fights will not be included. While the subject matter of the videos will vary from tragic to humorous, the presentation will be that of a parent or grandparent telling a story to their child or grandchild - a story that will add perspective to understanding life in the 21st century.

The project is open to all [of the right age] who care to participate whether or not they are members of SocialMaturity.com. SocialMaturity.com is a free social networking website designed for those of the baby boomer generation and older.

"The Boss" (a.k.a. Bruce Springsteen)

Bruce Springsteen has become an American music icon. I saw his Born To Run tour way back in 1975, the same year he appeared on both the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines. (I had second row seats even!)

Thirty years later and looking a little older, he's back with another critically acclaimed album, Magic. And, he's still "The Boss."

("Album?" My choice of words clearly dates me.)

Obit: "Miss Moneypenny"

Although not a Baby Boomer herself, what self-respecting Boomer doesn't know who Miss Moneypenny is? As you may recall, she appeared in 14 James Bond movies, starting with Dr. No in 1962 and her last being A View to a Kill in 1985. Her real name was Lois Maxwell and The Boomer Beat mourns her passing with many fond memories.

"How Baby Boomers Tap Nest Eggs To Fund Ventures"

The Wall Street Journal has an informative article about how some Baby Boomer entrepreneurs are using their nest eggs to start their own businesses. Should you be considering starting your own business, the article is required reading. A couple of excerpts:

Entrepreneurs have always tapped their cash reserves to start businesses. But boomers are discovering they have a crucial advantage over younger businesspeople: They can draw on decades' worth of savings to fund their start-ups. And that means much more latitude. Boomers don't always have to spend valuable time and energy lining up loans. And they aren't stuck making onerous debt payments on top of other business costs.

Of course, betting the nest egg carries big risks. If boomers lose a big chunk of their money, they may not have time to make back the cash.

"On The Road" [again]

Jack Kerouac's seminal work, On The Road, turned fifty years old last month--verifying its status as a Baby Boomer in its own right. A current New York Times opinion piece about the book's original review states:

“On the Road” was a frenzied search for affirmation, a book that rejected the ennui, pessimism and cynicism of the Lost Generation. The heroes of the book savored everything, enjoyed everything, took pleasure in everything.
However, looking back and comparing then to now, the present-day reviewer notes:

If Sal Paradise were alive today, he’d be a product of the new rules. He’d be a grad student with an interest in power yoga, on the road to the M.L.A. convention with a documentary about a politically engaged Manitoban dance troop that he hopes will win a MacArthur grant. He’d be driving a Prius, going a conscientious 55, wearing a seat belt and calling Mom from the Comfort Inns.
In one of the book's best known quotes, Kerouac stated:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn.”
So, are we [Baby Boomers] the ones yawning now or has the world truly changed? Or as the reviewer notes, maybe it's now illegal to be cheerful as we were then.

"Boomers Leading Change"

In news from Colorado, a Baby Boomer haven:

Boomers Leading Change is a long-term Rose Community Foundation initiative to engage people over 55 in opportunities for ongoing work, community service and lifelong learning. Boomers Leading Change recognizes that this large and highly experienced segment of the population has much to offer American society and communities for many years to come.

Boomers Leading Change is based on the promise of the “experience dividend” that baby boomers will contribute to their communities, their nation and their world by remaining engaged, or by re-engaging in socially useful and personally meaningful activities during retirement — or instead of retirement. As the baby boomers reinvent aging, they will challenge America’s institutions to remove barriers, change perceptions and adapt to the changing reality of aging.

Continued here...


Linux for regular people, not just geeks. (Wubi)

Many Baby Boomers somehow missed the boat on the whole personal computer thing. (Admittedly, that one still boggles The Boomer Beat. After all, computers were effectively born right around the same time as the oldest Baby Boomers.) Given that, most of you have had Microsoft forced down your throat somewhere along the way, and that's all you know. Some of you may be Macintosh users, again either by force, or with Mac more likely by choice. Still...

...there is another fantastic OS (operating system) available, but it has a well-deserved reputation for putting people off. That OS would be Linux. However, it is now time to put aside your bias for any one OS and give Linux a try because Linux has finally been made easy (or, a great deal easier).

Meet Wubi. Wubi is an easy-as-pie installer of the Ubuntu variant of Linux. Yes, it is now both possible and very easy to setup your Windows PC as a dual-boot Windows/Linux box. Forget repartitioning your hard drive. Forget arcane command line instructions. Forget pretty much every awful thing you've heard about converting to or trying Linux.

Yes, forget all the bad and hoary things you've heard about Linux and give Ubuntu (especially with the Wubi installer) a try. You might find yourself saying goodbye to Microsoft. Oh, and remember that everything Wubi/Linux-related (e.g., software, OS) is completely free! (Well, it may cost you just a very few gray cells to see the computing world anew, but they'll grow back.)

In fact, using Wubi and Ubuntu is the perfect cure for your older computers' blues. They are too old and slow to run a modern Microsoft OS, but they will find a new life with Wubi/Ubuntu. In fact, if you're still a tad cautious, you can always first try Linux on the older computer. However, The Boomer Beat doubts that will be where you stop.


From the "Just Noticed" Department

Jay Advertising is launching a separate creative unit within the agency called Passageways dedicated to building brand loyalty among Baby Boomers.

Often overlooked in companies' media targeting and messaging, Baby Boomers actually control nearly half the nation's disposable income and almost two-thirds of the wealth. Nevertheless, analyses indicate that companies target only about 10% of their media budgets toward this biggest spending demographic.

The news release continues here...

Tylenol Pain Poll

In research sponsored by Tylenol, results from a new national “Pain Poll” survey of 50-something baby boomers (age 49-55, n=1026) showed that while 77 percent of boomers think “50 is the new 40”, unfortunately 55 percent of baby boomers said that their aches and pains have affected their ability to maintain an active lifestyle.

The good news for 50-somethings is that 72 percent of males and females surveyed by the Pain Poll feel mentally 10 years younger than the age on their driver’s license; in contrast, the poll showed that 62 percent of 50-somethings feel physically the same as or older than the age on their driver’s license.

Why the discrepancy? Read more here...but remember it's really just a big advertisement.


Scholars & Rogues: Medicare Rx

The well-versed people over at Scholars & Rogues have a short, but interesting nugget of news about an October 1, 2007 deadline for tamper-proof prescription pads. Read it and wonder.

And, I just love that they use my favorite quote from the era of Funk music: Think--it ain't illegal yet. ~George Clinton, Funkmaster

Oh, and the photo? It's just there for effect. It's of a young James Baldwin. (I hope they don't mind that I borrowed it. I need neither scholars nor rogues on my tail.)

MSN Lifestyle: Boomers

Wouldn't you know it? Microsoft has a special place just for us. After all, the Big Boss is +50 himself now. Have a look at MSN Lifestyle: Boomers, a micro-site developed by Microsoft.

Do you find the pickings there as sparse as The Boomer Beat does? Microsoft, just pretend Bill Gates plans to be a frequent visitor to the site himself. (Isn't he supposed to be retiring soon?) Is that all you would deliver? Would Bill find it worth anything more than a few or occasional clicks? Answer: No.


I would give Boomerzest more than a mention, but its opening barrage of loud and unpleasant sound (music?) drove me away before I even started looking around.

It also doesn't help that it's being held in Springfield, Missouri. They're clearly getting desperate out there. Oh, and it's ongoing today [Wednesday] and tomorrow [Thursday, 28 Sept 07].

"Better Than I Ever Expected"

Fellow Blogspot blogger, Joan Price, hasn't escaped The Boomer Beat's notice with her refreshingly candid blog on +50 sex and sexuality, Better Than I Ever Expected.

In fact, she's writing a new book and is currently looking for written comments and stories about the trials and challenges as well as the joys of sexuality after 50.

Who need apply? Women and men over 50, single or partnered, straight or gay, willing to write candidly about [their] personal experiences and attitudes regarding sex and aging.

Given some of the postings, questions, and responses on her blog, we may just be looking at the woman to inherit Dr. Ruth's place one day. Give her blog a visit; you'll not be disappointed.

We're one of "them."

The Boomer Beat notes that AOL has a Baby Boomer category on the home page of its personals mini-site.

It appears we Baby Boomers fall into a category as unique and distinctive as the other two categories highlighted, Blacks and Gays/Lesbians. Hmmm...don't really know what to say about that.



There is no question that music leaves its mark on every generation. That arguably applies to Baby Boomers more than any other cohort in history. However, it can sometimes be difficult finding the music to which we listened, and still wish to hear.

An exception might be what is now called "classic rock" and the radio stations that play it. So what's the beat-seeking Boomer to do? Thanks to the technology of the present, the music of our past is only a keyboard away.

Available online is BoomerRadio.com, and it's free. There you will find everything from the smooth pop jazz of George Benson to the iconic Beatles, the delicious voice and music of Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane, and of course Motown. Yes, all of that and much more.

This site gets the full endorsement of The Boomer Beat. Listen and enjoy. Currently playing for The Boomer Beat is BoomerRadio's Vintage Rock station.

A Quick Look Back

What significant events occurred the year you were born?

(Although the Boomer Initiative web site now appears defunct, The Boomer Beat appreciates the link.)


Rock'n'Roll (Not iTunes, but Amazon!)

Where would rock'n'roll be had Baby Boomers not resisted and fought the establishment? (Remember when you could see a Grateful Dead show for only $5.00?) It certainly would not be on iTunes. And until now, iTunes had all but come synonymous with rock'n'roll music here in the early 21st century--but no longer.

iTunes probably has a case of the blues today. That is because Amazon.com has opened its own music store, Amazon.com MP3 beta. Where Apple typically sells DRM-protected songs, Amazon is offering DRM-free MP3s at prices lower than iTunes. That means your music is no longer tethered to an iPod! (Hurray!!!) Yes, the times are a'changing.

Pull out your MP3 players and read more here...

New York Times coverage of the story can be found here.

Grandma on Facebook & MySpace? Say it ain't so!

Just in case you were wondering, Web 2.0 is not leaving baby boomers or more mature adults entirely behind. This article points out that older internet users do not use the much ballyhooed and younger-targeted social sites, but do frequent and enjoy their own social networking sites. Even better, they tend to be more "sticky" and not subject to the whims of every change. Sites for baby boomers and the more mature include Eons.com and Rezoom.com.

As noted in the article:

These sites aim to create more comfortable, albeit less “hip,” environments in which older generations will feel safe discussing issues that are of concern to an older audience, like retirement, aging, and health concerns. If baby boomer-oriented networks achieve even a fraction of the boomer population, they have the potential to eclipse youth-oriented social networks like Facebook, by providing advertising opportunities for companies that have until now felt social networking to be beyond the scope of their target market.

However, the article's author doesn't really believe baby boomers and older internet users will ever have their potential impact on the internet. What?! How old is that guy? Maybe he should remember that we're the ones who invented the internet! I was very likely using IBM punch cards and early PCs (e.g., Apple II) before he was even born. Jeesh, kids.

Karma Queens? Geek Gods? Denim Dads?

I must have missed many new things in recent marketing research. Otherwise, why would I not have heard of Karma Queens, Geek Gods, Innerpreneurs, Denim Dads, and Parentocrats?

These new marketing terms are bestowed and explained by Ron Rentel and Joel Zellnik in their new book, Karma Queens, Geek Gods & Innerpreneurs. In all, the authors have created nine new consumer types to help businesses shape their marketing strategies.

And just what is a Karma Queen? According to the book's authors, a Karma Queen "is identified as a woman aged in her 40s or 50s who tends to buy organic food, wear Birkenstock footwear, practice yoga and buy high-end bath products."

Geek Gods? They are "identified as men aged under 35 who can't live without the latest gadget and are eager to help others understand their electronics. They are considered the most benevolent of the consumer types."

"Benevolent?!" Are these the same guys who were fighting over places in the iPhone lines running around the block? Are they the same guys who routinely engage in internet flame wars? Are they the same guys who never hesitate to brag about their most recent online and retail kills?

"Benevolent?" That's a downright insult to masculinity everywhere! Maybe we need a Real Man's Geek Retreat. (See below.)

"Ain't No Stoppin Us Now!"

Beverly Mahone, author of the book, Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age, has announced the first annual Baby Boomer Girlfriends Retreat at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach, Florida. The retreat is to be held on the weekend of April 18-20, 1998. The theme for the 2008 retreat is Ain't No Stoppin Us Now! To quote Ms. Mahone:

That's the message we're sending...because many women in my age group are meeting challenges head on and we're not letting a little thing like menopause and growing older slow us down. And just like the song says, we're definitely on the move!
After 40, our needs, wants and desires change. This is the weekend where women can throw caution to the wind and do something just for us.
One of the weekend's highlight will be the Over 40 Girlfriends PA-JAMMING PARTY. And, there is a reward for the first fifty registrants. Read more here. (Be certain to turn down the sound before you click on the link.)

(Guys, take my word for it. This is not something of which you want to be part. I doubt it will be anything like college spring break or Girls Gone Wild! Then again, it may be even better.)



Who says we don't start our own businesses? (See below.) We can even do it in our pajamas. Take this, Generation Y!

Workin' for The Man

Another study finds Generation Y to be kicking baby boomers' butts when it comes to being entrepreneurs. To quote the American Express sponsored study:

Generation Y entrepreneurs are more likely to have started their business right out of school (27% vs. 9% for Baby Boomers). They are also more likely to look to their parents' experiences as life-shaping influences, with 55% citing their fathers' work experiences as a factor in starting their own business. (vs. 44% Baby Boomers). According to the survey, many Baby Boomers (26%) started their business because they were financially unable to retire.

Okay, I'll accept the cold hard facts, but remember it's all because baby boomers had it made and life was easy during the good ol' days. We had no need for the myriad occupational choices and leeway about which Gen Y now brags. In our day you either worked for IBM or you didn't. Either you worked for The Man or you did not. And, older Polaroid photos were simply black-and-white.


The reports of a study by the Focalyst research group (AARP & the Kantor Group) notes some interesting vacation and travel trends and intentions of baby boomers. First, baby boomers with children still at home under eighteen years old are the most lucrative segment of the 50+ and mature travel market segment. It appears that many of us consciously made decisions to first focus on our careers before settling down and starting a family. Baby boomers have money, want the nicest after working hard to get where they are, and are buying for an entire family.

Second, more than half of those surveyed took road trips instead of destination vacations. Apparently, some of the past lingers on. Road trip!!! Yes, that was a popular trend which many of us seem not to have abandoned just yet. (Don't ask me about an infamous midnight-start road trip to NYC sometime back in 1976 or so. Let it suffice for me to say it could--and should--have been better planned. That aside, after leaving at midnight from college we pulled into downtown Manhattan at 10:00 AM that morning. Oh, and why did we do it? We had just watched Kojak and someone said, "Wouldn't it be cool to go to NYC?")

Third, we are cautious bunch, but not so much because of 9-11. Instead we recognize the sometimes dire and emergency need of modern medical facilities and pharmaceuticals in a foreign country. It appears we now recognize our mortality--and life's whims. (Hey, s__t happens!) Fourth, we don't give a hoot about brand loyalty. We listen to family and friends, and not so much marketing appeals.

In sum, we baby boomers are a much-desired target market with either extra cash after our kids have now graduated college or our because we were well along in our careers and salaries before deciding to have children. And, we will not be caught sitting still in our rocking chairs.


Who We Are

Baby Boomers. Who are we? Where are we? How many are there of us? What are we doing? What makes us so special, especially to marketers?

Those initial quick and easy questions are answered to at least some degree in the baby boomer entry at Wikipedia.