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Home > Blog > Echo Boomers, Buzz and Brands
Out of Our Minds
Monday, October 04, 2004 9:15 AM
Echo Boomers, Buzz and Brands
Anita Sharpe on Culture

If Baby Boomers' offspring -- otherwise known as 'echo boomers' -- have as much impact on the world as their parents, how will they shape society?

Last night, 60 Minutes took a look at this group, which was born between the early '80s and the mid-90s and now accounts for a third of the U.S. population. They may well have as great an influence on Western culture as any generation in history. Here are a few conclusions:

* They prefer the Internet to television.

* Mass marketing doesn't reach them. 'Buzz is more important than it has ever been.'

* They are tolerant of diversity. (In a 60 Minutes focus group, all said they were OK with gay marriage, for instance.)

* 'They want to build up, not tear down.'

And this philosophy extends to the products they buy. When Steve Croft asked the focus group to name their favorite brands, two that were prominently mentioned were 'Patagonia' and 'Aveda.' Both of these companies are known for their strong environmental and social values; neither sells their products through mass advertising, relying instead on select niche marketing and word of mouth.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes traditional big business to see that a new world is emerging and along with it, new priorities and a completely new way of reaching an audience.

1 comment

Robert - 10/4/2004 7:28:47 PM
Well, I suppose you have to give credit to embattled CBS News, for discussing alternatives to traditional advertising, its largest revenue source. But perhaps they realize that virtually every chief marketing officer already has a file on 'buzz marketing,' as most have been experimenting with it (sometimes called street, stealth and viral marketing) on some level -- for larger companies, more likely to support existing traditional marketing rather than supplanting it entirely.

IBM has spray-painted sidewalks and postered urban walls ... Sony-Erickson has had attractive young people saddle up to street pedestrians, asking them to take a picture with their cell phone (and introducing the target to the brand) ... models coo about a certain vodka in bars, and hand out phone numbers, which then turn out to be the marketer's promotional call center ... outside, another model is hanging out on a Vespa, oddly offering a marketing brochure when you complement him/her on the cool bike.

But you're right, it's all very new. Older echo boomers (like me) and baby boomers might have to get used to these tactics, some of which verge on being intrusive and deceptive. Or perhaps we won't see them at all, as we're not the target. More to warn the kids about, hmmm....


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