For years we have advised against nostalgic approaches when trying to engage consumers in the Baby Boomer cohort. While nostalgia has played well for seniors and the silent generation, Boomers (and I am generalizing) have not shown a longing for “the good old days.” With all due respect to Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin’.”
Before you roll out a track from the Sixties, this is very different from the longing for a simpler time. Our anxiety research, which began in the fall of 2008, shows that both leading and trailing Boomers are ringing out 2010 with more anxiety about their futures. The distrust of institutions — government, banking, and Wall Street — has not subsided. Distrust and fear are being translated into anger.
The outcome of this emotion is being expressed as something like nostalgia. But Boomers are not longing for their teens and early twenties.