Older consumers have generally been viewed by advertisers as useless.  But the age wave is beginning to shift that thinking . . .

TV advertising was founded on reaching the demographic of consumers between the ages of 18 and 49, yet the median age of viewers of prime-time broadcast TV is nearing 51 — two years above that age range.  To maintain relevance to advertisers, the big networks need to find a way to establish the relevance of older consumers if they want to continue to draw the marketers that support TV so heavily.

"There isn’t a single media-content company that won’t face this, and the same is true for mass marketers," Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development at NBC Universal recently told AdAge Magazine.

According to Nielsen, baby boomers in 2010 account for approximately 38.5% of all dollars spent on consumer package goods such as toothpaste and laundry detergent.  They account for 40% of customers paying for wireless services and 41% of customers paying for Apple personal computers.  And while brand alliances are often thought to be established when a consumer is in his or her 20s, changing technology has unleashed a steady spate of new devices and gadgets that are new to all consumers.

And what’s also different is that many of these consumers are going to live longer than ever before in history.