If you were weaned on The Wooden Tops… if you associate Cher with Sonny … if Joni Mitchell makes you misty eyed… never mind. Welcome to Generation Jones, the club for misfits who are neither hippy Baby Boomer nor techy Generation X. We’re one in four Americans, one in five Europeans and nearly all of the world’s leaders. That’s Barrack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Mariano Rajoy (sorry about him) … and you and me both!
Generation Jones is the new Power Demographic!
Now politicians want OUR votes, market analysts want OUR opinions and everyone wants OUR money. Our number, age, affluence and influence make us an irresistible force! Boomers are bust, baby! Joneses are the hot new market segment setting the agenda. (You can see it already from the number of TV ads playing music from our ‘70s and ‘80s heyday.)
And about time, too. There has to be some compensation for missing out on the ‘fab’ side of the Swinging Sixties while being eternally associated with the ‘grot’ – shag pile, hot pants, AIDS…
(By the way, would anyone not born between 1954 and 1965 please leave this page now. This is a private meeting for Generation Jones members only.)
Where was I? Actually, it’s easier to tell you where I wasn’t. I wasn’t at Woodstock. Most of us Joneses weren’t (unless they had very irresponsible parents.) Nor were we meditating with the Maharishi Yogi in India or in San Francisco with flowers in our hair. We were all far too young.
And that’s what defines us, according to Jonathan Pontell, the American marketing guru who christened Generation Jones. Pontell saw we had a different psyche to the psychedelic set and deserved a generation of our own. “We were wide-eyed, not tie-dyed,” he says. “I remember some older kids in my neighborhood offered to take me along to Woodstock. When I announced the good news to my parents at dinner, they said, ‘Finish your broccoli and go to bed. You’re not going to Woodstock. You’re 11 years old.’”
So who are we and what took us so long?
“Practical idealists forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part,” says Pontell who named Jonesers (as they call them in the States) after the American slang term Jonesin’ (a kind of unfulfilled yearning). “Jonesers were given huge expectations growing up during the height of post-war optimism, and then not many of them were met. In a sense we feel owed.”
Too right! Joneses the world over have had their retirement age extended, their pensions plundered, their inheritances squandered and their limelight stolen by Boomers.
Look what happened to Joneser icon Bryan Adams’ original Summer of ’75 lyrics, changed to Summer of ’69 by his Boomer-owned record company for commercial reasons, even though Adams would only have been eight years old in 1969!
“There’s been a reticence among Boomers to let the next generation have the spotlight,” agrees Pontell. “But now people are starting to sit up and notice that this generation has the money and the numbers, and they’d better start making some inroads. There’s a huge opportunity here for media and marketers.”
But he warns: “Although Jonesers are very open to switching brands they have very firmly ingrained bullshit detectors. You have to go out of your way to be real.”
So let the kowtowing commence! Because, to coin a favourite Jones dance tune, We’ve Got The Power!
Bring it on!
10 things we grew up with…
and 10 things we grew up without…
According to the media analyst group Carat and a 2004 article in the Daily Telegraph, they are quite distinct. Jonathan Ross is not a happy bunny over his classification! This video clip from his BBC One show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, reveals why. See below to find out which category you are.
Influences: Tiswas, The Old Grey Whistle Test, The Godfather, Blondie
Favourite magazines: Radio Times, Good Housekeeping
Favourite TV: BBC1, A Touch of Frost, Have I Got News For You.
Who they are: Gary Lineker, Carol Vorderman, Liz Hurley, Jonathan Ross, Ian Botham, Kim Wilde
Influences: Blue Peter, The Waltons, glam rock, Saturday Night Fever, Wings
Favourite magazines: Take a Break, Woman’s Own, Sainsbury’s Magazine
Favourite TV: ITV1, Coronation Street, EastEnders, I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here.
Who they are: Eamon Holmes, Hugh Grant, Shane Ritchie, William Hague, Cherie Blair, Lorraine Kelly
Influences: Magpie, Apocalypse Now, Rock Against Racism, punk, the Sex Pistols
Favourite magazines: Men’s Health, Red, Auto Express.
Favourite TV: BBC2, The Office, the Rugby World Cup, the news.
Who they are: Bob Geldof, Ben Elton, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Madonna, Sting, Bono
A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: The Generation Jones Summit, October 2013
GenJonesers from all over the world will be converging in New York next year to debate the economic, political, cultural, and technological implications of their generation. Further information about this, and great marketing data on the new demographic, from generationjones.com