IF you were weaned on The Wooden Tops … if you never think of Cher without Sonny … if all your baby pictures are sepia toned … never mind.
Welcome to Generation Jones, the new Power Demographic!
Baby Boomers are yesterday’s news, say marketing gurus. Generation Jones is the hot new market segment setting the agenda from this year on. We’re one in four Americans, one in five Europeans and nearly all of the world’s leaders. That’s Barrack Obama, Angela Merkel, Mariano Rajoy (sorry about him) … and yours truly!
Now politicians want OUR votes, market analysts want OUR opinions and everyone wants OUR money.
Our number, age, affluence and influence make us an irresistible force! (You can see it already from the number of TV ads playing music from our ‘70s and ‘80s heyday.)
And about time, too. There has to be some compensation for missing out on the ‘fab’ side of the Swinging Sixties – Woodstock, flower power, meditating with the Maharishi Yogi – while being eternally associated with the ‘grot’ – shag pile, hot pants and AIDS…
But that’s what defines us, according to Jonathan Pontell, the American marketing guru who christened Generation Jones.
Pontell saw we had a different psyche to the psychedelic set and deserved a generation of our own. “We were wide-eyed, not tie-dyed,” he says. “I remember some older kids in my neighbourhood offered to take me along to Woodstock. When I announced the good news to my parents at dinner, they said, ‘Finish your broccoli and go to bed. You’re not going to Woodstock. You’re 11 years old!’”
Pontell named Jonesers (as they call them in the States) after the American slang term Jonesin’ (a kind of unfulfilled yearning).
“Jonesers were given huge expectations growing up during the height of post-war optimism, and then not many of them were met. In a sense we feel owed.”
Too right! Joneses the world over have had their retirement age extended, their pensions plundered, their inheritances squandered and their limelight stolen by Boomers. It’s time to get even.
“There’s been a reticence among Boomers to let the next generation have the spotlight,” agrees Pontell. “But now people are starting to sit up and notice that this generation has the money and the numbers, and they’d better start making some inroads. There’s a huge opportunity here for media and marketers.”
So let the kowtowing commence because, to coin a favourite Joneser dance tune, We’ve Got The Power. Bring it on!