SOURCE: The Geppetto Group

The Geppetto Group

April 13, 2011 14:35 ET

New Study Shows Boomers Look for Optimism and Social Conscience in Brands

WPP's The Geppetto Group Finds Youthful Attributes Are Key to Reaching Adults Considerably Beyond Their Adolescence

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 13, 2011) - With the financial crisis of the past few years still looming over burnt-out adults looking for an escape, and mass media and technology making a play for 8 year-olds and 80-year olds alike, a new study shows that adults -- especially Baby Boomers -- are identifying with a more youthful mindset and seeking brands that mirror that sense of optimism back to them. The study was conducted by WPP's The Geppetto Group, an agency best known for its creative and insightful work with the youth target.

The survey polled 200 men and women considerably beyond their adolescence (35 - 64), to discover what drives this target to gravitate toward certain brands, and what they're considering during the purchasing decision process. Surprisingly, the study found that some of what drives us when we're young stays with us, hard-wired into our personalities, even when we're about to sign our first Social Security check.

Julie Halpin, Founder and CEO of The Geppetto Group, says the findings have major implications for marketers. "Marketers need to ask themselves if they're missing the boat when it comes to Boomers. Are they offering them optimism and social conscience, and are they identifying with inherent qualities of their youths? Think of the impact that kind of thinking could have for sports retailers or restaurant chains for instance."

The study culminated in three major findings of which Halpin says marketers should take note:

  1. 66% of adults are still looking for brands to express their personalities.

    Using brands to bolster one's own identity has historically been the work of adolescence, but Boomers care just as much, if not more, about identifying with youthful qualities inherent in brands to express their personalities. Gen Xers and Boomers said technology is how they express who they are and what they're about.

    "It's not just for teens and 20-somethings -- tapping into our ego and narcissism never withers away, it just changes brands," says Rachel Geller, Chief Strategic Officer, The Geppetto Group.

    Brands like Sony, Dell and HP were good reflections of their inner selves, as much as Apple and the iPad. And, it's still the jeans. But it's not 7's or Diesel, it's actually Levi's that tell the world what women 'of a certain age' are all about.
  1. 57% of adults are challenging brands to surprise and delightthem.

    "We found that the old notion of the older we get, the more we're looking for trust and reliability, no longer holds true," states Geller. "That by the time you own a home and a car seat you're not looking for surprises."

    Boomers led the way in this trend, and brands across all kinds of categories, from Swiffer for the home, Keurig for the palate and Under Gear for the man inside, have turned from boredom into surprise for adults.
  1. Baby Boomers are still looking for optimism and a social conscience from their brands.

    "The Boomers' heyday may have been in the '60s, but 50 years later they're still looking for optimism and a social conscience from their brands," says Geller.

    Today, those brand drivers score 12-13 points higher for Boomers than for the Gen Xers who didn't have Woodstock or the March on Washington to call their own. The study turned up some of their favorite socially conscious brands: Amy's Kitchen for organic, Dove for its work with women, Trader Joe's for the shopping experience, and SodaStream for a brand that brought back an old school experience to this socially-conscious new world.

To interview The Geppetto Group's Chief Strategic Officer Rachel Geller about this study and the trend toward youthful thinking and the implications and opportunities it poses for marketers, please contact Erin Donahue at or 646.380.4768.

About The Geppetto Group
The Geppetto Group, a WPP Group company, is a New York-based, award-winning integrated marketing agency that creates advertising and marketing programs and new product innovations based on the power of the youth mindset, for both adults and kids. Through its proprietary insights model called YouthSparks, Geppetto has developed integrated programs for Youth, Moms and Families for a variety of clients including ConAgra, Foot Locker, NFL, PepsiCo, Samsung, Wal-Mart and Reebok.

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