The Aging of the 18-49 Demographic

Posted on May 10, 2005

The L.A. Times has an interesting article about advertisers' obsession with the 18-49 year old demographic, which may be changing. The over-50 crowd is less than thrilled with all the hip new products being marketed at 18 year-olds. After all, who do they think earned the money that the 18 year-olds are spending?

Apparently, 50 is the new 30. Today's 50 year olds are just as likely or more likely to change brands and try new things as the under 30's. And some companies, like Apple, are smart enough to have noticed.

One of the most successful products recently to tap into that individualism has been Apple Computer Inc.'s digital music player iPod. Apple set out to market the portable device, which can hold thousands of songs, to people of all ages.

Last fall, its TV commercials featured a silhouette of a dancing Bono of the Irish rock band U2 singing "Vertigo." Apple was confident that younger consumers would see Bono -- who turned 45 today -- as the ultimate in cool: a hardened rocker who crusades for social and environmental causes. Apple was also betting that older consumers, whose fear of technology might have made them anxious, would feel reassured. If Bono, whom they'd listened to for more than two decades, could handle an iPod, so could they.

"We have huge youth appeal," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod marketing. "With this campaign, we tried to reach across several generations."

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