On Advertising and Gullibility

When I turned fifty a couple of years ago I was aware that I was leaving the prime 18-49 demographic. I like to think that I am immune to most direct advertising because of how smart and aware I am, but leaving the ‘key demo’ reminded me that most people become immune to all but the most subtle forms of direct advertising by age fifty, which is why advertisers prefer to go after younger consumers. I think the main reasons why older consumers become immune is that trends recycle – we’ve seen it all before – and our own offspring demonstrate such obsessive consumerism that we are horrified by the sight of it.

We also notice how stubbornly gullible our children are. My daughter might as well have had an endless loop of fast food and Apple commercials running through her head. She is still gullible, but now that she is an adult she is beginning to see the consequences of her gullibility. Eventually, probably around the time she turns fifty, she won’t be gullible anymore and the merchandisers will move to the next generation of suckers.

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