OPINION | GREG HARTON: The joy of aging: When the marketing machine passes you by

The older I've gotten, the less any complaint I have about music, television shows, movies and other entertainment matters to the people making decisions about those things.

I hear it from friends and family all the time: "I won't watch that show because its characters don't appeal to me at all."

Or they riff about how atrocious an awards show, like the Grammys, was because of the outrageous outfits worn by artists or the prevalence of music that's not their cup of tea.

And using a phrase like "not their cup of tea" is confirmation of my point.

Last week was prime time for the annual post-Super Bowl reviews of matters critically important to the playing of a football game: The singer's performance of the National Anthem; commercials; and the half-time show.

And I say critically important because, well, they're not. Oh, the National Anthem is important, but if a singer tries hard and butchers it, I can cut them some slack. If they try hard and succeed, that's awesome, but won't likely make me rush to my phone to buy his or her music.

The commercials can be fun, but they're just efforts to convince me to buy something I already plan to buy or don't really need.

Then, there's the half-time show, always a target for scorn or praise. This year, it was singer Rihanna's turn. Personally, I think she can sing and perform her rear end off. The half-time show's production was creative and far, far outside the box. And the fact that a pregnant woman carried out a stressful, challenging bit of choreography on a platform way above the field tells me she's all that and more as an entertainer who put the work in.

Not everyone shared that perspective. But sometimes, especially as you get older, you've just got to shrug and say "That's just not for me." And as you say that, you've got to realize that it's not made to be for you.

Consider the Beatles. If you were a teenager or younger in the 1960s, the odds are your parents didn't like the Beatles at all. But the Beatles weren't singing for them. They might have been hooked on Bing Crosby or Elvis.

Today, if you've got a problem with the content of your grandkids' video games or the word choices of their favorite singers' lyrics, the decision-makers on creating or marketing those things aren't that concerned. No matter how much you huff and puff, you won't blow their paid-off mansions down.

It's no fun to realize, as I have, that you're no longer the target market for most advertisers, popular music or other products.

By the time you're beyond the 18 to 34 age group (or younger), the advertising and marketing agencies assume -- indeed, they know -- you're more than likely set in your ways. You're likely to drive the same brand vehicle, buy the same brand cereal you've long purchased, dress how you've settled into dressing.

It's not that you're beyond change. There's plenty of marketing for the folks in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Someone has to be responding to those Medicare commercials and ads for pre-funeral planning, Metamucil and the many pharmaceuticals promoted to us.

It can just be frustrating that advertisers promoting the next cutting-edge product aren't really speaking to us, unless it's a product that helps with sore muscles or a device to help climb stairs. But before any young folks get all cocky about it, just remember: the clock is ticking for you, too.

One day you'll be listening to your favorite music and you'll hear the DJ declare you should stay tuned for more of the classic oldies. And your parents will have a good chuckle.

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