Echo Boomers



1:15 PM -- Telephone equipment companies, in their eternal lust for novelty, are always coming up with odd ideas for their tradeshow booths and marketing campaigns. Quite often they feel compelled to feature, not their customers, not the carriers, but the consumer of services that their equipment enables -- services that the consumer purchases from some other company entirely.

Confused yet? Well, apparently you didn't have to hop out of the way of the skateboarders at Tellabs Inc.'s Supercomm booth a couple of weeks ago.

Tellabs, which sells echo cancellers, is using Echo Boomers in its advertising. At Supercomm, it hired some actors to portray these highly-connected young people -- and to sing about services -- to the weary passersby.

Echo Boomers, by the way, are the children of Baby Boomers. They're called "Generation Y" by Madison Ave. and "Those Damned Kids" by my Uncle Finley. They are the first generation growing up with a cell phone in their pocket and the Internet at their fingertips and, I presume, ADD medication in their medicine chests.

By Tellabs' portrayal, these Echo Boomers are tough to please.

They listen to MP3 players, which are hidden deep in knot of dreadlocks. They tap incessantly on their handheld organizers while standing in line at a fashion boutique, owned by a multinational corporation, to buy new, pre-distressed denim jeans. They skateboard to class while text messaging their buddies about the latest video game -- a game that simulates a reality television show, based on a 70s sitcom.

Why would a telecom equipment maker straight out of the Iron Age attempt to reinvigorate itself by kowtowing to a bunch of Damned Kids?

I don’t know. But I fear that the confusion created will wreak havoc on the youth and their posture.

Can you imagine the moment that you see a gaggle of Echo Boomers rollerblading along with Tellabs 5500 digital crossconnects sticking out of their backpacks?

I won't be around when that moment comes.

I'll be powerwalking in the other direction, listening to my favorite George Gilder motivational cassette tape, "If I Raise My Voice Just a Little More, You Might Be Inclined to Take Optical Networking More Seriously."

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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