This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, June 6, 2011

AARP Says that 50 is the New 65

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is launching a new advertising campaign in which they are emphasizing the value to marketers of the Baby Boom generation as it ages. Since the boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964, the youngest boomers are having their 47th birthday this year, while the oldest are turning 65. This bulging age cohort has created new markets in almost everything as they have moved through time, and the AARP obviously does not see this trend as ending anytime soon. 

AARP’s new marketing effort will promote the baby boom generation, as it ages, as a viable consumer target for advertisers. The campaign, which includes print and digital ads, will run in trade publications like Advertising Age starting Monday.
“Our sense is that we’ve reached a tipping point,” said Patricia Lippe Davis, the vice president for marketing at AARP media sales. “People are really recognizing the value of the audience that we speak to.”
The campaign is intended to reach what Ms. Davis calls “thought leaders,” senior marketing executives who tend to be middle-aged, and “media mavericks,” media planners and buyers who tend to be younger. She said she hoped it would debunk myths about older Americans.
Of course, this can be good for AARP, as well, which got its start selling insurance, but now does vastly more than that. If it can convince the baby boomers to think about their own aging at an earlier age, it will be put money in AARP's coffers, but ultimately will be beneficial for the boomers themselves. This is because the current emphasis on being youthful to an increasingly old age turns out to be fiscally irresponsible. You really need to start planning for retirement at a young age, rather than pretending, when young, that you have a long time to wait before you have to be thinking about old age. The age transition in the US is playing out in such a way that the ratio of boomers to old people was very high when the boomers were young, but the ratio of young people to boomers will be low as the boomers hit the retirement years. This is crunching the Medicare and Social Security systems, as you know from the news. AARP is likely to work hard to protect benefits for the elderly, but at the same time it is prudent to save as much as you can when young or else the golden years will just be the 'olden years, if you know what I mean.

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