Are there too many young people in the world? Report in NY Times raises troubling questions…

While it may be interesting for us to kick around the behavioral differences between Boomers and Millennials, there is a deeper problem unfolding — the sheet numbers of younger people and where they are concentrated.

According to this interesting report that appeared recently in the New York Times, “At no point in recorded history has our world been so demographically lopsided, with old people concentrated in rich countries and the young in not-so-rich countries.”

A quarter of the earth’s population are now between the ages of 10 and 24 — and the majority live in the developing world.

Result? Youth unemployment, social unrest, and a likelihood of disruptive mass migration. Meanwhile, in the more developed countries, an eventual shortage of labor.

Here are some of the key stats:

  • While the world average is 25% in the 10-24 age bracket, it’s only 17% in the most developed countries and 32% in the least developed countries
  • It’s 18% in Canada and 20% in the USA
  • It’s over 30% in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Bangladesh, and 28% in Egypt

The countries with high rates also have underdeveloped economies with a lack of job opportunities, compounded by weak educational systems and poor skills training. It’s an explosive combination, because it means that migration alone isn’t the cure — if people are untrained, they won’t get a job simply by moving to a new location.

Now throw into the mix the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment we see in Europe and emerging in the USA.

The net result doesn’t add up to a pretty picture. We should be thankful we can debate the nuances of marketing to Millennials, and we should hope this continues to be the kind of problem we’re worrying about.

It’s come to this: 5’9″ white guy tells U of Washington students he identifies as a 6’5″ Chinese woman and their reaction is…

I keep thinking this is finally it – the topic of university goofiness must be exhausted; there can’t be anything sillier left to see. Then along comes a video like this.

I’m really beginning to think that, in cold-blooded marketing terms, a whole new cohort is emerging — not Millennials in general, but Millennials who were liberal arts undergrads in the USA between 2012 and 2016. There must be a lot of them – and they will definitely need a whole different approach to marketing communications.

Watch here as they struggle to tell a 5′ 9″ white guy that he isn’t a 6′ 5″ Chinese woman. After all, if he identifies as a 6′ 5″ Chinese woman, who are they to say he’s wrong? Yes – “identify as” has come to this.

I think this has all kinds of marketing potential for a whole new generation of consumers. I identify as a Porsche driver even though I can only afford a Honda Civic. I identify as a new parent even though I’m childless (maybe I even buy diapers and baby food). I identify as a wine connoisseur even as I sip Two Buck Chuck…

All it needs is a name and it could become a whole new school of thought. Maybe Delusional Marketing. I think it could have a real future


“The Chalkening” Part 2 – Now DePaul University bans all political chalking

I suppose it was inevitable. After all, someone’s got to protect the poor dears.

Source: DePaul says no more political chalking in response to pro-Trump messages

The school decided that some pro-Trump chalk messages were “offensive, hurtful and divisive.” So now all chalk messaging is banned. Read the full article and see the tortuous, legalistic hairsplitting through which the university justifies this decision.

Sample: “As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization, the university is significantly limited in the types of political activities it can promote or support. In accordance with federal regulations, DePaul may not engage in any activity in support of or opposition to any candidate for public office, federal, state or local. In practice, this means no partisan political advertising may be conducted on campus that could in any way be attributed to DePaul University.”

Federal regulations? Are they serious? Evidently so.

It would be interesting to learn what the DePaul administration thinks is going to happen to its grads once they hit the real world.

“The Chalkening” stalks US campuses in backlash against terrified anti-Trump students

OK – we need a disclaimer right off the top: this is not – I repeat, not – in support of Donald Trump.

But, really — can the presence of TRUMP 2016 scrawled, in chalk, on a stairway on an university campus be construed as an act of violence? As an act of intimidation so dire that it requires the protective intervention of the university authorities?

At Emory University in Atlanta, evidently, the answer is “Yes.” A group of students professed themselves to be so threatened by this deed, that they went crying to the administration, which — at first — promised to help by reviewing security cameras to see if the identify of the Mad Chalker  could be determined.

I say “at first” because of what ensued: an immediate backlash of anger, scorn, and ridicule — from other students, from commentators and (most importantly, if you’re the admin) alumni. In the end, the president was forced to write – in chalk – that Emory believes in free speech. How reassuring.

In a further demo of the law of unintended consequences, the episode provoked an onslaught of TRUMP 2016 messages — collectively, The Chalkening – at campuses across the country.

It really seems as if there’s no upper limit to the childishness of a meaningful segment of Millennial snowflakes still in university. They need protection — from ideas that contradict theirs, from harsh language, from tasteless humor, from cultural appropriation and micro-aggression and a seemingly endless list of offensive words and phrases. It’s good to know that many other Millennials, also in university, refuse to let themselves be identified under the same branding.

A quarter of UK men over 85 had sex in the last year

…but only 10 percent of women did.

That’s one of the interesting findings in a new study released by the International Longevity Centre, and reported here by the Daily Mail online.

The problem for women is that they live longer than men, and as they continue to age they have fewer potential partners to choose from.

Some other data:

  • 60 per cent of men age 65 and 37 per cent of women engaged in sexual activity in the past year. Among them, half reported having sex in the past month.

  • Men think about sex more than women. More than 30 percent of men aged 76-80 said they thought about sex at least once a week, compared to just 7 percent of women.
More than 30 per cent of men aged 76 - 80 thought about sex at least once a week, the study found. Graph shows how often older men thought about sex during the past month - from never to at daily

Graph shows how often older women thought about sex during the past month. Only 7 per cent of women aged 76 - 80  thought about intercourse once a week

What I find interesting here is not the percentages but the absolute numbers.  The total 65+ population in North America is close to 50 million. If even a third of them are thinking about sex regularly and engaging in regularly or occasionally (and I’m averaging downward by understating men), this  throws off a market of more than 15 million people. Is anybody watching this?

Pitt Students ‘In Tears’ and Feeling ‘Unsafe’ After Milo Yiannopoulos Event – Breitbart

Milo Yiannopoulos is Tech Editor of Breitbart News Network, and famous as outspoken and politically incorrect. He’s gay,  Catholic and conservative — an unlikely combination on today’s media landscape. In January, he gained even more fame (or notoriety, if you prefer) when Twitter removed its blue “verification” checkmark from his account, provoking charges that it was targeting conservatives and trying to censor free speech.

So when Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the University of Pittsburgh, it would have come as no surprise that fireworks might follow.

Yiannopoulos unloaded a number of observations that were unpalatable, to put it mildly, to many students. According to the student newspaper, he said people who believe there is a gender wage gap are “idiots.” He described the Black Lives Matter movement as a “supremacy” group. He called feminists “man-haters.”

Strong stuff. But, hey — free speech, right? And besides, attendance wasn’t compulsory. It was just a campus event that students  could go to, or not.

Ah, but this today’s American campus, and nothing is that simple.

Apparently, the talk was so “traumatizing” that the it literally drove students to tears. Many felt…you know what word is coming…”unsafe.” So the Student Government Board convened a meeting the very next day.

Marcus Robinson, student and president of the Pittsburgh Rainbow Alliance, said, “I felt I was in danger, and I felt so many people in that room were in danger.” He said the school should have made counselors available, in another room, to “protect” students felt “traumatized” by the opinions offered by Yiannopoulos.

Another student, social work and urban studies major Claire Matway, said, “This is more than hurt feelings, this is about real violence. We know that violence against marginalized groups happens every day in this country. That so many people walked out that event feeling in literal physical danger is not alright.”

Literal physical danger?

The answer, of course, was to create a “safe space” – and a coalition of campus organizations promptly convened a meeting to do just that.

You can read all the details here.

The universities, it seems, are producing a distressingly high number of people who seem to have no ability to cope with contrary opinions. If they feel “unsafe” — to the point of “literal, physical danger” – by some opinions delivered at an event they were under no obligation to attend in the first place, can you imagine the meltdown that await them in the real world?


New research suggests “older” means “happier” — will marketers get the message?

New research from the UK supports the idea that “older” people are happier than “younger” people. According to this study, one’s sense of happiness or well-being drops from age 20 to about age 50, then rises steadily to age 70, where it levels off.

This adds yet another complication for youth-obsessed marketers. Not only are they over-spending against people with less disposable income, those people are not as happy as the older folks  (who do have the disposable income) that the marketers are ignoring.

It’s not a matter of zeroing out the marketing dollars allocated to the younger age groups. Of course these groups must be pursued, and significant dollars spent against them. The problem is under-allocation against the older groups. The blunt truth is that marketers have lucked into twenty or thirty man-years of consumer spending by people who, in previous generations, would have literally been dead by this age, and yet are not only still alive but still active…and spending.

Is this overwhelming reality reflected in marketing budgets? Not even close.


Oh, the poor dears — students are breaking down because school assignments are making it too hard to pursue social justice “responsibilities”

How dare the universities demand that tests be passed and essays handed in on time? It crowds out more important work – like demonstrating against the university itself, for all its sins of racism, sexism, ableism…you know the list.

“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” says one student at Brown, quoted in this remarkable but all-too-easy-to-believe article.

The thing is – someday, they will graduate. Would you hire this kid?

Feel the Bern: Sanders-Clinton isn’t a battle of ideology, it’s just one more round of Boomers vs. Millennials

The Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton contest is usually presented as a battle for the ideological soul of the Democratic party. He’s a socialist, for heaven’s sake – do they really mean to go that far? Can they let the hard left dominate?

But there’s another way to look at Sanders-Clinton: not as a competition between ideologies, but between generations. It’s one more round in the ongoing battle between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Each side fields a distinctive view, not merely of taxes or regulations or other details of public policy, but of life itself, how things should work and do work, and what really matters.

The Millennial attitude comes down to this: how you feel about yourself is more important than what you actually accomplish.

It’s an understandable position. The Millennials have had the misfortune to be born into an incredibly challenging environment in which it’s difficult to accomplish much: crippling student debt, the gig economy, the greedy Boomers refusing to age and get out of the way. Compound this with an education system preaching self-esteem as the highest goal, and offering protection from the real world as long possible.

No wonder  they flock to Bernie Sanders. He offers the delicious double opportunity to not only feel virtuous, but courageous at the same time. He enables you be on the side of Good, and to do so fearlessly, in defiance of polls and focus groups and weasel words and all the grubby verbal and operational compromises of the usual political process. The very fact that he is a such a long-shot, that he won’t dilute his position to make it more broadly appealing, is part of the thrill. His supporters don’t get there through logic, they feel the Bern – not for them the cold-blooded reasoning, the sweaty bobbing and weaving, of the real world. That it’s an uphill battle, maybe even a lost cause, is the whole point.

Baby Boomers bring exactly the opposite philosophy, and Hillary Clinton is its perfect embodiment: nothing matters but results.

In pursuit of results, the Boomer generation has shown a fanatic work ethic and willingness to constantly change priorities and even identities. From hippie to Yuppie, from Woodstock to Wall Street, without batting an eye. You do what works. You do what advances the cause. And if a large part of that cause is…well, yourself? Hey, no problem.

Not surprisingly, this makes Boomers an easy group to dislike. Here’s Paul Begala, political commentator and former aide to Bill Clinton: “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history. I hate the Boomers.”

Many of those adjectives are being applied to Hillary Clinton. She’s seen as untrustworthy and unsympathetic, out only for herself. A nag, a scold, a grim score-keeper. She reminds you of that kid we all had in our high school class – you know the one I mean – who always reminded the teacher, on the last day of school, that she’d forgotten to hand out the summer reading assignments.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders offers an emotional experience that makes you feel like a hero just for supporting him. You don’t have to worry about whether or not he can actually win, let alone accomplish his stated goals. Those are Boomerish topics – outcomes, results. So pedestrian.

And right on cue, the finger-wagging Boomer steps in. Every Hillary Clinton speech is a resume – I did this, I fought for that. Busy, busy, busy. Committees, policy papers, amendments, coalitions.

Even when she grasps at progressivism, she makes sure to pour a little cold water on it. The Boomer reality check. “Progressives,” she sniffs, “make progress.” What are your numbers? What bills did you pass? What programs did you implement? What good is your ideology if it doesn’t actually, um, accomplish anything?
Thus, the pop-up ad on her website: “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.” The visitor is invited to click on “I Agree” before proceeding to the site itself.

But wait a minute. Surely the Boomers had their own phase of youthful rage against the system? What about the sit-ins, the Vietnam War protests, the Freedom Riders? Surely the Boomers weren’t always such calculating main-chancers?

Right. But even here – in fact, especially here — we see the same clear distinction between the generations. The Boomers, even as rebel hotheads, were all about results. Feel-good sentiments were never enough. The Vietnam War protests took years, as did the civil rights struggle. People went to jail, people died, and still the Boomers persisted. They made alliances, they worked the system, they were patient, and never confused about what success looked like.

Even the far-out radicals of that time, like the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), had to put forward detailed, tightly reasoned strategies that emphasized results and not just theatrics. Their Port Huron Statement, written in 1962, runs to more than 30 pages of step-by-step plans and tactics, including a very long-term program to capture and dominate university faculties. (Total success on that one.)

By contrast, look at the Occupy movement of 2011.

Here was a protest, largely driven by Millennials, against the very same inequality that Bernie Sanders condemns so eloquently today. Helped by the Internet, it quickly morphed from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy organizations in many other cities. The Occupy Toronto website proclaimed it intended to “work towards drastic changes to economic systems.” What changes, exactly? “We have not yet put out a unified message but be sure it will come.”

It never did. What came, instead, was winter — and everyone went home.

At that point, Adbusters, the Canadian magazine that was a major influence in the movement, offered this strategic advice for the next step: “We declare ‘victory’ and throw a party…a festival…a potlatch…a jubilee…a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we’ve come, the comrades we’ve been, the glorious days ahead…We dance like we’ve never danced before and invite the world to join us.”

A grand gesture. Exactly. Can you imagine the Boomers settling for anything so fatuous?

And now the Millennials have another grand gesture on offer. Another opportunity to “dance like we’ve never danced before.” And meanwhile the Boomers chug-chug-chug away in all their “can-do” earnestness, pushing, prodding, parsing, back-filling. Keeping score, like Madame Defarge at the guillotine.

There have been two primaries so far. In Iowa, Clinton barely won, if she won at all (some delegates were chosen by coin toss). And in New Hampshire, she was crushed by the biggest margin in New Hampshire since JFK.

And the actualdelegate count as of today? Clinton: 394. Sanders: 42.
How is this possible?

The Democratc party has a whole other layer of delegates who are not chosen in the primaries. These “super delegates” — party and officials and insiders — exist precisely to inhibit the primary voters’ ability to take the party in a direction the establishment doesn’t want. And the overwhelming majority of them (in New Hampshire, six out of eight) are already in the bag for Hillary.

Oh, and Paul Begala, the Boomer-hater?

He’s a strong advocate for Hillary Clinton. Maybe it’s because he is (gasp) a Boomer, too, though at the youngest end (born in 1961).

Boomers versus Millennials. Outcomes versus dancing.