People over 40 are allowed to have a sexual edge in the movies (witness Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Jack Nicholson) and in TV shows (J.R. is now cheating with women his own age). But in TV commercials, 40ish folks have been more likely to find fun in fiber than in flirting. In the ’90s, however, as many of the 77 million-strong baby boomers navigate their 40s (the first boomers hit 45 this year), we may see more ads on the order of the new campaign for Taster’s Choice. In the first spot (above), a 40ish woman breaks from her dinner party to borrow some java from her new neighbor — and the sparks fly more instantly than the coffee. The actors, Sharon Maughan and Tony Head, were chosen for their ”incredible on-screen chemistry,” says Stuart Klein of the ad agency McCann-Erickson. The next installment in the neighbors’ brewing flirtation comes this month.
Is this the leading edge of an older-is-bolder trend? Citing a 1989 study by the National Opinion Research Center, Ross Goldstein, cofounder of the San Francisco-based research firm Generation Insights, says that ”younger and older people don’t find life as exciting as mid-lifers.”