Baby boomers are a mass of contradictions.

They spend freely but love bargains. They don’t identify with young models, but resent being called senior or elder and hate expressions like “golden years.” They have little loyalty to the brands of their youth but prefer products with well-known names.

As a group, boomers - the 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964 — are rapidly aging out of the 18-49 demographic that had become advertising’s holy grail simply because so many people fell within the category. Their sheer number and spending power dictate that companies keep them in their sights.

But so far, no one seems to have figured out a way to reach them as a group. And brand managers - many of them boomers - are increasingly seeking outside help.

Perhaps inevitably, a number of consulting firms has sprung up, purporting to offer the key.

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