How To Market to a Nation of Socially Responsible Exhausted Consumers

I have heard some talk lately that 50, which used to be the new 40, is now the new 30.  That’s just great.  It’s not enough to be young at heart anymore, you actually have to be young… or at least act like you are younger than you really are.

Perhaps this is the reason why energy drinks – a product once relegated to pimply boys on skateboards – reached nearly $7 billion in sales last year, outpacing bottled water by $200 million.  And we are not just talking Red Bull and Monster Energy and Rockstar, we’re also talking Starbucks and Jamba Juice and V8. Main Street marketing, baby.

Because while teenagers will put just about anything into their bellies that tastes good and gives them a sugar high, 50-year-olds (and 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds) want to be healthy and natural.

According to a recent story in Food Product Design, “the greatest long-term opportunities in energy likely still exist firmly in the beverage sector—but with a decidedly “natural” spirit (think whole-food ingredients, juices, tea, whole grains, etc.).”  Better still, the article reports “Aging consumers regularly cite a desire to have sufficient energy for the day’s activities.”

In other words, “We may be the new 30, but we are tired, and we would like to be laying in a hammock on a beach, but we cannot afford to retire, so we must keep working, and we cannot take drugs without a prescription (or the risk of arrest), and we really don’t want to mess up our bodily functions (we’re talking urination, bowel movements and erectile functionality here), so can someone please give us an all-natural and apparently healthy energy boost to help us make it through the day?”

If that’s not a marketing opportunity waiting to happen, I’d like to know what is.


Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.