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Byline: Bob Rayner
Feb. 9--For decades we've called them the baby boomers -- that giant generation spawned in the 18 years after World War II that, through its mere size alone, has left an unmistakable mark on the nation's cultural and economic life.
Of course, they're not babies anymore. The oldest boomers turn 58 this year and even the youngest will hit 40.
So what do we call them now, especially the ones who have passed the big 50th birthday?
It's a tough question and one that could have huge implications for businesses and marketers during the next couple of decades as they try to stay in touch with history's most consumer-savvy generation, one that's going gray but still flashing plenty of green.
A couple of Richmond marketing firms are taking a very close look at the aging boomers -- how they see themselves, which advertising strategies might be most effective and even what to call them.
"Whatever you do, don't call them seniors," said Matt Thornhill, chief marketing officer for Boisseau Partners, a Richmond advertising agency.
"They know they're middle-aged, but using words like mature, senior, even middle-aged is death," said John Martin, president and chief executive of the Southeastern Institute of Research in Richmond.
"Nothing is appropriate. They don't want to be called anything," Thornhill said.
Finding the right name for over-50 boomers isn't actually a life-and-death issue, but it does illustrate the very delicate balance businesses and advertisers are facing as they reach out to …