If boomers are smugly gif-ing all over Facebook from a house they bought for £3.50, millennials are obsessed with avocado toast and whining, and Gen Z are shunning IPA in favour of climate activism, then Gen X are – so the stereotypes go – louchely far too cool for any of that stuff.
Variously characterised as the generation of latchkey kids, slackers, and MTV, Gen X sits in an interesting space when it comes to how they’re being marketed to and what they’re being marketed – interesting in that, for the most part, it seems brands and advertisers are ignoring them.
But why? If Gen X were born between 1965 and 1980, they’ll be roughly 43–58 years-old now. In other words, a generation that likely has more disposable income than those younger, and one with a rich cultural history (Trainspotting, grunge, readily available Clockwork Orange posters, Blur, Lost Highway, et al) that suggests they’d be receptive to interesting creative work. Does the assumption that they’re railing against ‘the man’ still ring so true that advertisers don’t even bother?
It seems unlikely, especially when you consider that some of the most powerful and memorable TV ads date back to the 90s, when Gen X was ostensibly at its coolest: Jonathan Glazer’s iconic Surfer ad for Guinness; the unforgettable launch of PlayStation; that still-terrifying Belly’s Gonna Get Ya Reebok spot.