Me & Generation Jones

(We got a thing goin' on...)

Generation Jones

Rubik’s Cube = Generation Jones, the new market to target!

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!

Keeping Up with the Joneses 

Clues to targeting this lucrative new market segment! 

10 things we grew up with…

  • black and white TV
  • Blue Peter
  • disco
  • vinyl records
  • The Jackson 5
  • typewriters
  • reds under the bed
  • the Sony Walkman
  • the Space Race
  • Benny from Crossroads

and 10 things we grew up without…

  • a gap year
  • the Internet
  • live Beatles concerts
  • mobile phones (we waited in for a call)
  • Ecstasy
  • student sit-ins
  • microwaves
  • reality TV
  • electric orange juicers
  • GPS

Which Generation Jones Club Are You In? 

Mainstream, Conservative or Radical?

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.

Mainstream (65%)
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

Conservative (20%)
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

Radical (15%)
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

Generation Jones

Remember Spotty Dog from The Wooden Tops? You could be a member of the exclusive Generation Jones Club

 

5 Comments

  • Gaile Griffin Peers November 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm Reply

    Great article, thoroughly identified with the concept that I am not a baby-boomer and that my retirement date has moved from my 55th birthday to my 67th – so fully embrace the thought that I am from Generation Jones… except that I fail all the Clubs…

    There must be a tiny percent in the Extreme Jones Club –
    Influences: Tomorrow’s World, Nationwide and Z Cars
    Favourite magazines: ‘She’ and ‘Harpers and Queens’
    Favourite TV: The 10 O’clock Show, 8 out of 10 cats, CSI, Antiques Roadshow
    Who they are: me and surely there must be someone else 🙂

    • Belinda November 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm Reply

      Sounds like an interesting market segment, Gaile. Anyone else agree?

      I think I would be an Alternative Jones
      Influences: Radio Caroline, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Top of the Pops
      Favourite Magazines: Petticoat, Cosmo, Vanity Fair
      Favourite TV: Lost in Space, Take Three Girls, Play for Today

  • KJ Elsdon January 23, 2013 at 11:53 am Reply

    Genius! This is definitely me (born 1960) especially since I have found that many of the baby boomer stuff is a little bit before my time. However, I have heard that the boomer era is supposed to extend to the release of Love Me Do, which does incorporate my birth date. However, Generation Jones does seem to cover more of my cultural identity, although I don’t really fit in to any of the groups. What else can you say when you have ended up equal parts Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the Sex Pistols? I also recall Play For Today with enormous affection – we could do with more of that cultural experimentation and risk these days. It all seems so tired and formulaic.

    • Belinda January 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

      Welcome to the ‘club’ KJ. ELP – loved them! ITV’s not doing too badly with its new drama series – Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge, Mrs Biggs. One thing I’m thankful I didn’t grow up with is Reality TV, and at least we’re old enough now to turn it off!

  • Wade Hoover March 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm Reply

    I was born in 1961 and lived in an area that was very artsy,bohemian,hippy and open-minded. At least the young people were more open. Anyhow, also thanks to close relationships to my older boomer cousins we were introduced early on to the hippie way of life. So, it follows that once we were 13 we jumped onboard the Magic Bus wholeheartedly. LOL……….tie dyes,bellbototms,sandals,long hair,etc. We loved the music that we heard on the radio early on and the new stuff coming out too. It was a time of parties,road trips,camp-outs and experimenting for us. Although we were disappointed to have missed out on some experiences we got our share and more. LOL…….Anyhow, that time shaped who i am as a human being. Spiritually,Mentally,Politically and made me see the world as a whole place and not just what was surrounding me. I still am very active politically and consider myself as more radical than others i know today. I believe we are in a time of change again and that it is definitely not in the best interest of most planet dwellers. So, history repeats itself once again……..What a shame…………..Anyhow thanks for letting me give my two cents.

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