Also referred to as ‘Gen X’, ‘Baby Boomers’ or the ‘Grey Panther’, the ‘Elastic Generation’ are often forgotten about. They get their name from the fact that they keep ‘bouncing back’.
Living during a time when the three life stages were still held as truth (education, married with children, retirement), they were able to bounce back from the belief that 50 and 60 year olds were ‘past it’.
However, the average baby born today is meant to have a life expectancy of 142 years old!
That changes things a bit, right?
In fact, this generation are the most confident with themselves, and much wealthier than the younger generations. This is giving way to a generation of people who are new parents, experiencing ‘grey gap years’, entrepreneurs, and returning students.
We’re not giving this generation enough credit.
This generation invented the internet. Yet, we patronise them for being digitally inept. We stereotype them into grey haired, sensible-clothed incontinent grandparents who are only interested in Saga holidays, life insurance and talking about the weather.
It is often thought that the media is a mirror to society. However, brands are not paying them enough attention. 74% of this generation say that brands are not relevant for them and as a result, pay no attention to ads. Yet, this generation are potentially the most financially lucrative customers.
There are two main issues contributing to the relevance deficiency:
- Advertisers are spending just 5% of their ad spend targeting this group currently.
- Images are not a true reflection of this generation, and are causing them to feel patronised and stereotyped.
When you compare the images below with the images above, you can see the monumental chasm between how this generation is perceived by society and brands (above), and the reality of how this generation look and feel (below).
So let’s stop focusing all of our attention on Millennials and Gen Z, but start celebrating the elastic generation and the contribution they make.
Sources: TIME, Marie Stafford (JWT), Forbes