Boomers: Not Dead Yet!
Updated: Jan 9, 2018
First let us introduce ourselves. We are Nancy Hendrickson and Sara Caldwell, both baby boomers (Sara's older but she'll try to tell you I am; don't listen) and we are the creators of a new web series, Boomers. It's about boomers, written, directed and produced by boomers and the leading roles are acted by boomers (Yes! Real honest-to-God boomers, not just 40ish actors in gray wigs and age make-up!).
What's the point of a web series for boomers, you ask? The point is, we boomers are still here. We still have things to say. We are still good at what we do and want to continue doing it. Unfortunately, actors find the parts drying up when they get to be a certain age. As one actress put it: Older men are only cast as judges and older women are only cast as "Grandma" - and only if they have gray hair. Our aim is to correct that situation. But we have an even greater aim: To give baby boomers something to watch on the web.
Baby boomers spend a lot of time on Facebook. Tell the truth, boomers: Isn't that the only way to find out what's going on with your kids and grandchildren? It's not like they could be trusted to pick up a phone or write a letter (or even get off Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram long enough to respond to an email). But you can't spend all day on Facebook! Okay, you can, but you feel guilty when someone asks you what you did all day.
It would be nice if you could say you watched a really interesting web series, but most of the existing web series are about lonely 20-somethings that can't get a date, or whose boyfriend/girlfriend dumped them. Been there, done that - 40 years ago. Where is the content that speaks to our demographic? Where are the webisodes that deal with hip replacements? Knee replacements? Stents? Cataract surgery? Mandatory IRA withdrawals? Male-patterned baldness? Where are the characters who've been dumped by companies who want younger, cheaper labor? Whose children want them to downsize (and give them the house)?
And where are the shows that center on seniors who are still working? Still playing tennis and ice skating? (There's a reason for for all those bad knees and hips.) What about the ones who've taken off in RV's and are following the good weather from national park to national park? Or the ones who've gone back to school? Are out volunteering all day? Or raising their grandchildren? And, okay, what about the lonely 50, 60 and 70-somethings who can't get a date or whose boyfriend/girlfriend dumped them?
Baby boomers are doing all kinds of things because, while we may be old, we're not dead yet! So why are there no web series that are geared toward us? Hang on. The answer may surprise you. I am told by experts - very young experts, of course (how they got so much expertise in their short adult lives baffles me) - that there's no money in marketing anything to baby boomers. The theory is, we already have brand loyalty so why bother? We established brand preferences (Coke over Pepsi, Volkswagon over Ford, etc.) decades ago, whereas milenials can still be caught in the net of a persuasive ad.
I say that argument is ridiculous. A lot of the brands we chose back in the day (Marlboro over Kent, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups over Nestle's Crunch) we can't buy anymore because they're bad for us or have too many calories or something. Some, like Betamax, we just can't buy anymore. And a lot of things we do buy now didn't even exist when we were young. There were no smart phones, tablets, DVR's. GPS devices. There was no Sirius radio or Amazon Echo. So why aren't the advertisers trying to capture our boomer dollars? That leads to the second argument:
Boomers don't spend money. Milenials spend money. Milenials are "maturing," I'm told - moving into dorm rooms and buysing their first flat screen TV's. And where are they getting the money for these first major purchases? From us!! From the boomers! We are financing our children and grandchildren, with money earned and saved over the course of a lifetime, and sabotaging ourselves! By giving money to young people, we are contributing to an environment in which it is their brand loyalty, not ours, being coveted and fought over. This trend needs to be reversed.
Boomers, I urge you to hang onto your money! Whoever said "information is power" was dead wrong. Money is power! If you must participate in furnishing your oldest grandchild's dorm room, don't just blindly fork over the money. Pick the products. Let those advertisers know it's your money and you will choose what to spend it on. Better yet, forget the grandkids altogether. Send that money to us and we will give you the web series you've been dreaming of.
It's difficult for me to believe companies like AARP, Boniva and Fixodent would rather compete for the eventual brand loyalty of millennials than to try to reach those of us who are already using those products, but if the 30-something marketing experts are to be believed, we have no hope of getting advertisers for our web series. Funding has to come from (as PBS would say) "viewers like you." So cut off that monthly stipend you were going to give your grandchild at college. There are always work-study programs. Forget about paying for that break-the-bank wedding your daughter has her heart set on (how do you even know the marriage will last?) and reneg on the house downpayment you promised your son and his pregnant bride. It won't kill them to live in the one-bedroom apartment another few years. Boomers, it's time to TAKE BACK YOUR POWER!! Make checks payable to Boomers Web Series. If it's big enough, we may even send you a tee shirt.