Boomers: Engineered to Consume

by midlifecrisisqueen on February 3, 2013

Do you ever tire of being manipulated everywhere you turn?  I do.

Everywhere I look someone is trying to influence my decisions. They think that if they can say just the right words, they will succeed in transferring my money into their bank account.

To these people I say: “How stupid do you think I am?” 

I gained a whole new perspective recently when I started researching boomer psychology.  I wanted to know, how different was our upbringing from that of our parents?

“Boomers were the first American generation to grow up in a world inundated with constant manipulative advertising.  Our parents had radios, but we witnessed a virtual explosion in technology in our lifetimes, with mind-blowing technological developments in our fifty or so years on this planet. 

From the invention of transistors to the development of the World Wide Web, we have gone from a few hours per day of black-and-white television when we were young, to e-mail and cell phones in the 1990s, to today’s total-immersion, 24/7 world news and infotainment cycle, with flashing ads everywhere we turn.”

One interesting example from boomer childhoods, the popular Captain Kangeroo was enlisted to sell Schwinn brand bicycles directly to his show’s audience, typically six years old and under, throughout the 1960s.  Then in 1971, the FTC recommended against Schwinn’s on-air marketing practices using the show’s host. The Captain was told to no longer insist that all of his viewers purchase a Schwinn!

Our parents grew up with a radio, if they were lucky, and then eventually a television set in their home, but boomers were the advertisers’ prize target!

“We 77.3 million boomers have influenced consumer behavior at every stage of our lives. Gerber baby food was created in response to an increasing demand for store-bought foods for infants, a popular item among moms back in the 1950s.  Sales of transistor radios and fast food took off when boomers were teens, and Nikes became the shoe to have when boomers became yuppies.”     –  Excerpts in quotations from Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife

We were engineered and groomed to become the perfect consumer, and then handed credit cards in our early twenties for the first time in human history.  Everyone seemed shocked when many of us ended up in debt.  Hmmm…

If you ever tire of feeling valued only as a consumer — this is why.  In the world of American business, that is all you are — a way to make somebody else rich.

View and comment on this article over at Huff Post 50!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Sightings February 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

I tried to comment at Huff Post 50, but it wouldn’t let me because first it said I needed to get an account, and then when I tried to get an account it said there was already an account associated with my name. Oh well, too bad, it was a very clever comment, too!

midlifecrisisqueen February 10, 2013 at 9:28 am

Tom:
Sorry about the HFPOST! Please comment here!

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