Boomers versus the Logan’s Run School of Marketing

1970s thinking: Logan’s Run inspires 21st century advertisers

One sci-fi gem that never made it to Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the 1976 classic, Logan’s Run.

The premise was simple: two hundred years in the future, a post-apocalypse utopia thrives under a protective dome, safe from the primitive remnants of the old order. The populace enjoys a technologically advanced, hedonistic existence regulated by an all-caring computer; they travel in self-driving transportation pods; everyone is young; everyone is hip. Think Google campus with ’70s hairdos.

Logans Run V2There was only one drawback to this idyllic life: the inhabitants were terminated at age 30. But in 1976 we Boomers didn’t worry. Hey, it was only a movie.

Who knew it would inspire the Logan’s Run School of Marketing that rules many a mainstream brand’s strategy today?

Don’t worry, Millennials, thanks to the latest update – Logan 5.0  – you can relax when your 30th birthday rolls around: the deadline has been shifted to 50. Sweet.

Nevertheless, after a twenty year reprieve, Americans are still symbolically terminated on their 50th birthdays. They no longer appear in mainstream advertising because, in theory, their brand-switching adaptability implant has now expired.

In the movie, Logan was a disruptive – a runner. Once devoted to the system, he escaped conventional wisdom to find an unexpected world of opportunity outside the dome.

Likewise, a few disruptive 21st century adworld Logans have begun to re-think the 50+ space. These runners have discovered that we Boomers are actually America’s most adaptable generation; we have constantly embraced change throughout our lives, and we still do.

For example, let’s talk about how we learned to fly.

How Boomers learned to fly – for less money

Flying NunBack in 1967, when Boomer favorite Sally The Flying Nun Field took to the air on ABC Television, only around 20% of American adults had flown in a commercial aircraft (TIME Magazine, June 25, 1965). By 2000 the figure was around 90%.

Not only did Boomers take to the friendly skies, but we happily adapted to declining airfares.

A 2013 article in The Atlantic magazine tells us this was largely due to deregulation of rigid pre-1978 price controls. Citing data from Airlines for America, the article illustrates the dramatic price decline (see chart: 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars.)

Just how stifling was air fare regulation? 

Air travel cost per mile

The Atlantic quotes Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer who worked on airline deregulation in the 1970s as a senate aide. He explained it this way:

“In 1974 the cheapest round-trip flight New York–Los Angeles (in inflation-adjusted dollars) that regulators would allow: $1,442. Today one can fly the same route for $268”

Learning to fly: how Boomers adapted to new travel codes

Before air travel deregulation, flying was mainly the domain of celebrities, politicians and business executives. But after 1978 it became commonplace for everyday Boomers. Along the way we learned to …

  • Airline passengersFly casual; we no longer dress up to fly. For many, casual morphed into slovenly, scruffy and even sleazy. Some of us miss the good old days.
  • Pay for cocktails; these used to be free; during turbulence, 8 Miles High was not just a Byrds hit song.
  • Not to smoke on board; sales of nicotine gum soared and we flew healthier.
  • Accept reduced meal service; we used to enjoy free 3 course meals in coach, although bureaucrats couldn’t resist regulating the amount of tomato in the salad.
  • Replace travel agents with the Internet; this is a Boomer inside joke, since we are supposed to be too rigid to change and too dumb to use the Internet. But, well, it did happen, and we adapted to saving that travel agent commission too.

15th Nation™ a world class destination

The Boomer-Plus generation™, born 1940 to 1964, is America’s most affluent and adaptable. In 2014, as our youngest members turn 50, there are 89 million of us: if we were a country we would be Earth’s 15th most populous – the 15th Nation™.

And, as owners of two-thirds of U.S. household net worth, the 15th Nation is a bigger and wealthier consumer market than Germany or France or the UK – and much bigger than Canada and Australia combined.

So it makes good sense for today’s game-changing young marketing Logans to climb aboard the exciting flight to the 15th Nation and the immense opportunities that await in the 50+ space.

Touchdown will be at our hometown hub, Denver International Airport – according to USA Today of one of the world’s ten most beautiful. Like the Big Idea of marketing to Boomers, it was created by breakthrough thinking.

Opportunity DIA

Boomer - neXt SM logo_MMOriginally published as a Boomer-Plus Consulting Group post; in September, 2017, we up-branded as Boomer / neXt to welcome the 4 million Gen Xers who join the Boomers in the 50+ space each year.

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