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Brand Strategy   |   Marketing Communications


Boomers vs. Millennials

Image: University of Washington

 

There’s an awful lot of talk in advertising these days about Millennials and Boomers – who they are, what they like, how they buy, what they believe. We thought we’d pit one against the other in a little experiment to dig deeper.

BOOMER:
Why Millennials piss me off.

As a Baby Boomer, I am a member of the Greatest Generation Ever (sorry, Brokaw: nice book, lame title). We did more cool stuff with more style, panache and gravitas, and we did it for longer than any other generation in recorded history. I know, I know, boomers are not perfect. Some of us bought Monkees’ albums. But sorry other also-ran generations: even our lame crap beats your lame crap every time.
So how come Millennials are especially annoying right now? For one thing, they whine. A lot. And about practically everything.
Waahhh! The economy!

Waahhh! I’m not self-fulfilled yet!

Waahhh! My parents want to charge me rent!

Waahhh! 4G is still too slowwww!
Oh please. Boomers made their own economy. Boomers invented new kinds of self-fulfillment. Boomers left home for communes. Boomers had love-ins instead of Facebook friends.
We rock. That’s why Millennials still covet our music. They still watch our movies. And they still can’t kick us out of our jobs because we’re just too original, too tough and too good.
Millennials need to take a long hard look in the mirror, put on their big boy (and girl) pants and clean up their freakin’ rooms since most of them are still living at home with us, their boomer parents.

MILLENNIAL:
Old man, please.

As a Millennial, I can already say I am a member of the Greatest Generation Ever. And, while I take issue with a lot of what has been said, I will give him two points:
1. “We (Boomers) did more…”
2. “They (Millennials) whine.”
Sure, Baby Boomers did do a lot, but that’s the rub. In the big booming world of the Baby Boomer, more means better. Quantity is valued over quality. Even if something isn’t great (Read: Monkees), it’s celebrated. Why? Because it means more – and that’s good! What other generation would create the suburbs, fast food, and strip malls?
Which brings me to why whining – a Millennial trait – is a good thing. It’s a demand for quality. It’s a belief that, yes, things can be done better. And that, no, more is not necessarily better. Quantity is most certainly not better than quality.
After all, I see plenty of reason to whine about the economy and 4G. We can do better. And – thanks to Millennials – we will.
You went to the Moon? We made it to Mars.

You keep your record collection in your attic? We keep ours in our pocket.

You rock? We rock, roll, hip, hop, rap, pop, and tweet.

And, oh yeah, we share, too. A lot.
Sure, we might mess up sometimes, but that’s what you pay for constant improvement. There’s a reason we’re called the Entrepreneurial Generation. We might fall early, but we don’t stop until we’ve got it right.
We won’t Boom and fizzle out. No, no. We’re just getting started.

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