1970s thinking: Logan’s Run inspires 21st century advertisers
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.
Who knew it would inspire the Logan’s Run School of Marketing that rules most brand strategy today?
Don’t worry, Millennials, thanks to the Logan 5.0 update, you can relax when your 30th birthday rolls around: the deadline has 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. A former devotee, 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
Back 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?
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 …
- Fly 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.
Consumers over 50: a world class destination
The socio-cultural Boomer-Plus generation™ (Baby Boomers born 1946-1964 plus their slightly older siblings born 1940-1945), is America’s most affluent and adaptable consumer group. In 2014, as its youngest members turn 50, there are 89 million – as a nation it would be the world’s 3rd largest economy, a bigger and wealthier market than Japan, Germany, France or the UK.
So it makes good sense for today’s game-changing young marketing Logans to climb aboard the exciting flight to the 50+ consumer space and the immense opportunities that await them there.
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.