Where Do the Children Play?


By: Michael Henderson, Account Director

Cat Stevens once wrote: “When you crack the sky, scrapers fill the air. Will you keep on building higher ’til there’s no more room up there? … Oh, I know we’ve come a long way, we’re changing day to day, but tell me, where do the children play?”

While his character, political views and approach to life may be up for question, the song’s narrative certainly makes you wonder. With businesses continuing to build, expand and advance our economy, will that same advancement diminish our society? And after all: where will the children, tomorrow’s consumer, go?

The baby boomer generation is entering retirement; the shift in consumer purchasing power is happening today. Tomorrow’s consumer is here. And unlike their predecessors, this consumer’s priorities are not jumbo planes and cosmic trains. With an estimated $1.3 trillion in spending power, millennials are not spending money on material items, but rather on experiences, causes and goodwill.

Concerts, festivals, ALS challenge donations, athletic events, travel, Hurricane Sandy crowd-funding and cultural experiences. For this consumer, happiness isn’t about possessions or career status, but rather living a meaningful and happy life. It’s about creating, sharing and capturing memories through experiences.

So regardless of how high we build, how many roads we construct, how many widgets we ship: If we shift our thinking beyond the material, beyond the possession, beyond the tangible item and we focus on the priorities of this consumer, we will improve our society and give the children a place to play.


Related articles:

The Experience Economy

Millennials Want to Donate to Charities, Save the World

Philanthropy with Millennials

Millennials Are Reshaping Charity

The Rise of the Experience Economy