Adweek Diary: Eastern

X, It Appears, Never Marked the Spot

Thanks to a recent study by TBWA Chiat/Day and Yankelovich Partners, Time magazine has taken another look at the generation formerly known as X, and it seems those so-called slackers and layabouts aren’t what they were labeled after all. Adam Morgan, at the shop, scored the only agency quote in the story, summing up the definition forced on the post-boomer generation: ‘The baby boomers of the media and marketing world were desperate to explain a generation they didn’t understand, so they reduced X-ers to a cartoon It may be the most expensive marketing mistake in history.’ For those smarting from a marketing wrong turn, the study, titled ‘The 21st Century American Dream: The Aspirations That Will Forge Tomorrow’s Marketplace,’ purports to offer a more accurate view of those born between 1965 and 1977: Today’s twentysomethings expect to work hard, play tough, and receive substantial monetary and material reward for their efforts, but not necessarily in the traditional ways. Members of this generation plan to follow their own rules to reach these goals: Far more Gen-Xers surveyed responded positively to statements like ‘I would prefer working on my own over working for someone else’ than in the generations labeled Matures and Boomers. And there’s certainly good news for marketers: Gen X is itching to buy, and willing to spend mightily on items that denote status. Sixty-four percent agreed with the statement, ‘Material things like what I drive and the house I live in are really important to me,’ as opposed to only 50 percent of boomer respondents. If a new generational identity is blooming, don’t call them slackers–try strivers.


NO COMMENT: Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt chief executive Chuck Peebler, above, dogged by queries from the press about the possible sale of the company, held a ‘no comment party’ to lighten the atmosphere, sources said. Peebler and Bozell Worldwide chief executive David Bell performed a ‘Burns & Allen’ routine to lampoon Peebler’s ‘no comment’ refrain to the media.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED