Sunday, August 5, 2012

BIG’s Blog: The Soviets Just Couldn’t Evolve

It’s been said that the old Soviet Union was brought down not by the might of western military superiority, but by Rock and Roll and blue jeans. When the Soviet Baby Boomers were in high school and college, they were really no different than western Baby Boomers. They loved the Beatles, rock music, and western youth fashion, which was first and foremost blue jeans.

Of course, when the Soviet Boomers were young, their parents’ generation was in full charge. But as they matured during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, just like their Boomer counter parts in the west, they still looked to the west for the material culture of music and fashion that their system either couldn’t provide or worse, repressed.

The west and the United States in particular have been building a full-on consumer society since the end of WW II. But to be honest, the Depression and WW II generational cohorts who preceded the Baby Boomers never really were fully inculcated in the consumer culture that  began in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Their ethos was forged in the depression of the 1930’s and the very real supply shortages and rationing during the Second World War. Baby Boomers may know the stories but don’t have the same emotions about money and personal savings as those generations.

My mother is 82. Most appeals I see today (virtually all direct mail) are still written to my mother even though I receive the same appeals. They speak her language and play to her generation’s ethos. And the funny thing is, I know they are written by copywriters who are Boomer or younger.  

I know most of these organizations are getting some Boomer donations but as time passes, the approach has to change. Would the writers of the appeals donate?

How consumer-friendly is your organization? Potential Boomer and younger donors are consumers before they are donors.

Remember what happened when the Soviets couldn’t evolve.


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