Trendsetter Masthead

Peter Hubbell

Peter Hubbell

Like us on Facebook

See the current issue
of The Internationalist magazine

Find out how to sponsor an issue of Trendsetters

Trendsetters: Peter Hubbell Explains Why Marketers Should Care About Brad Pitt at 50, Cover Girl Christie Brinkley at 60 and Rocker Mick Jagger at 70

Brad Pitt, Christie Brinkley and Mick Jagger may each be a decade apart, but they’re still at the top of their games, and all are part of the Baby Boom generation. Of course, the end of World War II brought a childbirth boom to many countries, especially Western ones, and although the long span of high birth years may vary between France and Finland or New Zealand and the Netherlands, 2014 is significant in that some of the youngest Boomers turn 50.

Let’s not forget that many of today’s biggest heartthrobs have passed the half-century mark-- Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Bono and Sting. And this year, the following Baby Boomers—all associated with youthfulness, vitality and sexiness— celebrate 50th birthdays: Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Mary Louise Parker, Nicolas Cage, Courtney Love, Calista Flockhart, Russell Crowe, Rob Lowe, Courteney Cox, Matt Dillon, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, Elle Macpherson, Clive Owen, and Lenny Kravitz.

Peter Hubbell--a Boomer himself, author of The Old Rush: Marketing for Gold in The Age of Aging to publish in May and Founder of BoomAgers ad agency—not only understands the marketing significance of this generation, he’sso certain of it he has organized a marketing practice around this and other cross generational demographics and psychographics.. He recognizes that Boomers are spending three times as much as trendy Millennials on basics like consumer products, but they want to be addressed in ways that resonate with the values of their generation—and not as a demographic group perceived to be “over the hill.” He sees them as “Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation.”

In fact, 2014 may be a watershed year for changes in perception, particularly in terms of how we address history’s biggest generation and how we define “old.” If anyone’s going to redefine, or defy, notions of aging, it will be the Baby Boomers whose optimism and “can do” attitudes shaped culture and society forever. Don’t forget, both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs typify the Boomer Generation and its ethos.

According to Hubbell, “We live in an age of new marketing inspired by new demands. Highly specialized companies are now challenging the relevance of the general ad agency model. The trend towards specialization is one of the main reasons I founded BoomAgers. Our blueprint for building a new kind of advertising company demanded a focus on a specific generation of consumers, a deep understanding of the changing context in which they live and a new operating model that consistently delivers better advertising.”

Peter Hubbell believes that “Advertising must embrace the ‘Age of Aging.’ There is no consumer trend more important today than aging.” He emphasizes that in just 5 years, half of the US adult population will be 50 and older. Countries from China to Japan, Germany to Russia, South Korea to the UK are showing similar trends. As these valuable consumers age out of the 18-49 media demographic, ad agencies will need to prioritize 50+ consumers and re-tool the 18-49 driven systems and processes that dominate current business models.

He also points to another fundamental shift. “For decades, advertising’s targeting models have been either Age or Stage based—marketing to consumers within a specific age period or stage of life (like a young man’s first shave).” Hubbell believes a new targeting model is emerging that is generation-based and markets to consumers’ most enduring values regardless of their age or stage in life.

“If expertise in emerging consumer trends is a cornerstone of effective marketing,” says Hubbell, “then consider the following: approximately 10,000 US Boomers retire from their primary career occupations every day, and this will continue unabated for the next 17 years. This shift from the work-place to the home-place is a true ‘Home Run’ for marketers of all sorts of products-- from home improvement and furniture to food, travel and financial services.”

Currently in the US, there are 80 million Baby Boomers, which is a number greater than the populations of the UK, Israel and Switzerland combined.

Of course, the term "boom" refers to the phenomenon of increased births in the post-World War II era. The birth years of the baby boom vary somewhat by country as some experienced an "echo boom" when the offspring of the initial boom gave rise to a new generation. Multiple generations may be present in a single country such as Ireland where the boom lasted 36 years. A period this long will also reflect differing ideals and cultural milestones among boomer groups of each decade.