Scratching the Itch of Generation Jones (712 words)
By Andrea Syverson
You've heard of "Baby Boomers," "Generation X," and "Generation Y," but have you heard of "Generation Jones"?
Jonathan Pontell, at age 42 a Generation Joneser himself, coined the term to describe the population segment born between 1954 and 1965. A pop culture expert and writer, Pontell describes the terminology this way: "Jonesin'" is a hip, passionate slang word from the 1970s that means a strong craving for someone or something. Our generation has the jones."
In his new book "Generation Jones," Pontell makes a case that his generation deserves to be treated differently from the Baby Boomers, not lumped together with them.
Generation Jones is getting lots of attention these days. Last year, this segment was discussed in major TV, radio and print outlets including The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, American Demographics, CNN and NBC. Pontell is apparently onto something.
According to Pontell, marketers should be aware that Jonesers currently represent 26 percent of the adult population in America, and they spend $1.4 trillion annually.
In a recent interview, Pontell explains that in order to reach this cohort, you have to scratch the itch of their jonesin'. As a generation, they were given huge expectations during what was considered the height of the post-World War II American confidence and affluence, and then confronted with a dramatically different reality in the 1970s. That left this generation with a key personality trait, a sort of pending, unrequited quality. The more marketers can try to 'scratch that itch' and appeal to Jonesers' underlying dreams, the better.
Unfortunately, many marketers have been blinded by the traditional definitions of Boomers and Xers. It's important to draw the lines where they should be, for more effective marketing.
Just for fun, take a stroll down memory lane and browse www.generationjones.com. You'll find a quick review of some of the defining moments of the past several decades. As Pontell points out, "It's having these same formative experiences during their youth that truly define a generation." Take a glimpse at the list below.