Boomers to Millennials – Branding a Generation

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Alex Kirby

Generations – a loose timeline

Baby Boomer: 1945 – 1965
Generation X: 1965 – 1985
Millennials (or Generation Y): 1985 – 2005
Generation Z: 1995 – 2009/14
Generation Alpha: from 2010

For generations now we’ve been looking to define… well… generations. Can you lump millions of people together simply by the period they were born into and grew up in?

Following World War 2 and the birth of the ‘teenager’ in the 1950s, the term Baby Boomers was coined as people felt more confident about the future. After all, the Great Depression and the Second Word War were behind them and a new sense of optimism fuelled the public’s confidence. Television, radio, newspapers and magazines; the mass media, helped facilitate the spread of ideas like never before and so it’s perhaps understandable how this started a focus on categorising and branding generations.

It wasn’t until 1991 when Douglas Coupland hit the zeitgeist with his book ‘Generation X’ that we had our next term. At the time he was in fact looking for a way to distance his own generation from that of the Baby Boomers. Ironically, central to his thinking was that you couldn’t and shouldn’t put labels on these and that his generation were tired of being put into a box. However the term stuck and was co-opted by many a marketing manager as they looked to create new and ‘current’ associations.

As the technology continues to speed everything up so too have the terms. Since Generation X we’ve had Millennials (or Generation Y), Generation Z and now get ready for Generation Alpha…

My Coupland didn’t mean to, but just over 25 years ago he really started something.

What’s next?

Generation Trump?

The collective political climate where all voting becomes anti-establishment just for the sake of it.

Generation Post-Truth?

A sub-set of above where society accepts that all information integrity has vanished and is easily corrupted forevermore.

Generation AI or Regeneration?

Where we fully embrace robotics and begin the eventual road away from what we call humanity?

Or could we just stop – now.

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