Cool, it would seem, is no longer the preserve of teenagers. In fact, quite the opposite.
A jury of 30 arbiters of cool from the worlds of fashion, media and marketing convened. Among them were Sadie Frost, Kelly Hoppen and Steve Parkinson (MD of Kiss radio). The brands they picked were anything but the ‘street’ brands you might expect.
Aston Martin came first with Apple second, followed closely by Harley-Davidson, Rolex and Bang & Olufsen.
Perhaps the only one of these that you might associate with youth is Apple. But when you think about it, Apple is in fact the archetypal baby boomer brand, as personified by the late Steve Jobs (who was born in 1955).
So when the president of Taiwanese phone company HTC announced last month that iPhones were for old people, he was in a sense right. Because if you calculated the average combined age of the typical purchasers of the winning cool brands, it would probably be 50. They would be wealthy (obviously) and far more likely to live in the Home Counties than Shoreditch.
So how cool is that? And how must the winning brands feel about being so conspicuously for the middle aged, when conventional marketing wisdom says that such a thing is the kiss of commercial death?
The answer is: while brands don’t like to crow in public about the fact that they are for the more ‘mature’ market, increasingly in private they are delighted.
Luxury brands such as Aston Martin and Apple know which side their bread is buttered. Our generation has more disposable cash than ever before; younger people, relatively speaking, have less.
While some marketers still worry that targeting an older segment means their customers will forever be dying off, the opposite is true. Increasing life expectancy means that the ‘lifetime value’ of customers is extending. People like us could be useful to brands for the next 20, 30 or even 40 years, with the added bonus that as customers grow older, they are generally more loyal and less, in every sense of the word, promiscuous.
The only disadvantage of targeting us is that it makes the brand less sexy for younger customers. But there is this argument: given that hardly anyone under 40 can afford an Aston Martin, who cares?
So what can we expect the winners in future CoolBrands surveys to be? Cosmetic surgery companies? Care homes? Companies that make nice cosy slippers?
Stannah Stairlifts, come on down.