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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Culture groups update...

I received an update from the Iconocast group – they’re the ones who have lumped us all into neat little age-related groups with labels – Boomers/Matures, Gen-Xers and Millennials – and then purport to track trends in those groupings. I got a particular kick out of the Boomers/Matures group (I’d be in the Matures subgroup there), since they reported a rise in the number of these aging Yuppies who are now ending up in the emergency wards of the country due to motorcycle accidents. Their take on it -

Easy Riders they're not. Boomers taking hard falls from motorcycles are hitting ERs in higher numbers nationwide. Between 1997 and 2006, the accident rate for riders 45 and over jumped from 14% to 24% (San Diego Union-Tribune 12.9.07).

One reason for the spike is that more older bikers are on the road; their median age rose from 27 in 1985 to 41 in 2003. Meanwhile, the motorcycles they ride have gotten bigger and more powerful, compounding the risk of accident and injury for bikers with slower reflexes.

“Everybody in trauma centers is seeing this more,” says Dr. Frank Kennedy, trauma director at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa, California. “The baby boomers feel like their life is getting boring, and maybe they want to be more adventurous.”

The kids are grown, there's cash on hand and the open road beckons. Why not spring for that monster dream bike? The lure is understandable, but Boomers may want to opt for a kinder, gentler bike that's more in synch with their aging bodies.

Actually they have already invented that “kinder, gentler bike” for Matures – it’s the three-wheelers that you see cruising the retirement villages of Florida or maybe the golf carts that also provide lots of the transportation in those same locations. I do get a lot of requests for garages big enough to store the “bikes,” and the bikes that are in question don’t have anything to do with peddling. Maybe instead of a Scion xB I should have gotten a Harley. No, I’ve gotten by this long without breaking any bones and I don’t want to start now.

According to Iconocast, the Gen-X group has created a whole new take on the traditional Tupperware party – the Taser party –

They come in pink, blue, silver and black, but we're not talking Tupperware. Taser C2s are in hot demand at home-shopping parties in Arizona, where instead of trading recipes, suburban housewives take aim at cardboard cutouts.

“We have Tupperware parties and candle parties to protect our food and house, so why not have a Taser party to learn how to protect our lives and bodies?” asks Dana Shafman, who founded Shieldher Inc. to franchise the concept (Arizona Republic 11.29.07).
The gals don't drink-and-Taser (no alcohol is permitted) and they don't practice on each other. But they do learn how to handle the devices, which can hit attackers up to 15 ft. away with electrical volts that incapacitate them.
Hosts of Shieldher Taser parties, rolling out nationwide in 2008, get a free Taser for every 10 they sell in their homes.

Consumers are more concerned than ever about personal safety. Tasers empower women to protect themselves and their families without bringing firearms into the home.

Home-shopping parties keep expanding into new domains, from pet products to sex toys. Why not use them to sell Tasers?

Many Realtors already carry pepper spray as a defense against attacks; maybe Tasers are the next big things for Realtors. I can see it now – “Reduce your price or I’m going to hit you with another shot.” There’s probably something in our Realtor’s Code of Ethics that discourages that behavior.

The poor Millennials are left with a pretty tame trend, at least according to this report from Iconocast. Apparently they're really into the reality show showdowns in fashion and cooking and other areas –

Designers gone wild? That’s the idea behind Style Wars, a live-action fashion smackdown that pits frenetic fashionistas against one another in front of a live nightclub audience.

The national competition challenges contestants to whip up “instant couture” from vintage duds, funky fabrics and unlikely materials — think newspapers and spray paint — in just a few quick snips (and five short minutes).

Impromptu creations are judged on qualities like innovation and creative vision. Early elimination rounds tour the country before the Fashion Week finale in New York City.

As seen on shows like Project Runway and Iron Chef, creativity-in-motion can be a compelling, compulsive concept. Live, manic mashups that mix popular elements of media and culture are entertaining departures from static, familiar formulas.

How dull, compared to crashing your motorcycle or Tasering someone. Of course the Millennials will already have on the “Please Don’t Taser Me” T-shirts that were invented and became popular right after last year's Florida University campus Taser incident that was splashed all over You Tube. I suppose the Millennials might like some of the house makeover shows or the home redecorating shows. Maybe if they filmed the whole show using a cell phone video camera it would appeal more to them even more.

What does all of this have to do with the real estate market in Milford, Michigan? I haven’t got a clue; but it was fun to discuss. See you tomorrow.

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