– Who are the advertisers appealing to?

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You know you’re getting older when advertisers on television no longer solicit your business. It is natural for ad agencies to target the younger generation; the youngsters may not have the money, but they sure know how to spend it. Today, the “Millennials,” those in their twenties to early thirties, seems to be the target du jour. However, I question the validity of the commercials today. For example, today’s television ads show young people driving luxury automobiles, eating at fine restaurants, traveling to exotic locations, purchasing sizable homes and furnishing them with expensive furniture and electronics. They also enjoy lavish parties and participate in extreme sports.

After watching this awhile, you start to question how realistic these ads are. I hardly think all of the Millennials are making six digit incomes. If they were, why does the country still have the highest student loan debt in our history (currently, it is in excess of one trillion dollars)? Add on to this car payments and home mortgages (if they are lucky to own such property) or apartment rent, and you start to understand why the Millennials are slow to leave the family nest.

When you look at the financial burden Millennials are under, you wonder how they can afford the luxuries being promoted through television or the Internet. Maybe one in ten of that generation can afford such opulence, and that is likely a liberal figure. The rest have to watch their money carefully and live off peanut butter sandwiches for awhile. (As an aside, even peanut butter has gone up in price.)

So, what is the message advertisers are sending Millennials? Go deeper into debt at warp speed? Frankly, I suspect such ads are not really aimed at the Millennials, but at their predecessors (Generation X and the Baby Boomers) who are young at heart and want to maintain a hipster image. These other generations are much more likely to afford the luxury automobiles, exotic vacations, and the fine life as opposed to the Millennials. Such ads, therefore, are aimed at their vanity more than anything else. However, as a Baby Boomer myself, I do not foresee jumping off a cliff in a wing-suit any time soon, or drinking Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. I’m sorry, but I have no illusions of being someone I am not, but I do not believe advertisers see it this way. Instead, they are appealing to the oldsters who want to be youngsters. Such is my theory.

If advertisers are truly aiming at Millennials, they are either making exorbitant amounts of money we do not know about or the advertisers are trying to drive them into the poor house. I suspect the latter.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BUYING THE VOTES – Can anything be done about the money spent on political campaigns?

LAST TIME:  THE FALLACY OF MAN HOURS  – There is, of course, a better way.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific).  Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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