19 August 2015

Folks Are Still Reading My 2005 Book


That’s probably not true but it certainly seems as if they are.

Or, the specter of NostraChuckus, famed Soothsayer and advertising gadfly who’s been startling the world for years with his mundane prognostications, is being invoked willy-nilly.

imageAARP Launches Baby Boomer Ad Firm
By Suzanne Vranica
Washington-based advocacy group AARP has created a marketing agency to help corporate America peddle products and services to the over-50 crowd, which AARP says doesn’t get enough attention from advertisers…

I emitted a short bleat about this on American Public Media’s MARKETPLACE® the other day. You can listen to and/or read it here:

imageA new older generation may attract more ad dollars
by Scott Tong  Friday,  August 14, 2015

A bunch of quotes from the WSJ piece and other media outlets covering the story:

The agency, called Influent50, says traditional marketing firms have trouble reaching that generation because they are typically staffed with young, fresh faces whose expertise lies with millennials.

It's as if no one over the age of 40 exists on the planet -- and certainly no one over 40 is ever seen walking the hallways of an ad agency.

Sounds vaguely familiar.  From a post of mine in 2003:

Advertising to Baby Boomers: Back into the Fold
imageThe Giant Leap: there had better be a minor revolution in the creative end of the advertising industry. Talented men and women in their late forties and fifties need to be brought back into the fold if you want to reach us. This includes copywriters, graphic artists, producers, directors, and creative directors.

And the first chapter of Advertising to Baby Boomers (2005):

Why Companies and Ad Agencies Need Baby Boomers (PDF)
CVRComp… Truth is, you can analyze marketing fodder all day and night, read countless books about marketing to Baby Boomers, attend advertising and marketing conventions around the world, and soak up everything all the experts have to say. Much of what is out there is valuable and useful … But if you plan on implementing a creative strategy and turn it over to a different generation of advertising professionals—you'll forfeit the natural sensibilities required to generate vital campaigns…

“The 18 to 34 age group is just seen as the sexier audience,” said Scott Collin…

From the Introduction (The Geritol Syndrome) to Advertising to Baby Boomers (2005):

The real reason the Geritol ads were funny was because they weren’t exactly the cutting-edge of advertising “art.” These weren’t sexy ads, ones that an agency would brandish as their best work. Over martinis just off Madison Avenue, I doubt that you ever heard,“Wow! Did you see the latest Geritol spot? Baby, fantabulous!”

Targeting older Americans isn’t easy. Experts say there is a dearth of expertise out in the marketplace when it comes to this segment of the population and many times ads don’t hit the mark.

A blog post from 2011 that might be worth a look:

Non-Diversity = Solipsism
… I was watching a commercial.  A twenty-something talked about how he’d moved back in with his parents, but they were sleeping. Then we see them in a car (the spot was advertising the car) and on their way to have fun doing something or other.  He was microwaving his dinner.  A mildly amusing spot.

Ad executives say that marketers tend to discount marketing to seniors because they believe that older people are already brand loyal, making them a tough sell.

Again, vaguely familiar. A quote from a review of my book by Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg of Marquette University, published in The Journal of Consumer Marketing (2005):

A second favorite excuse of agencies is: "Baby Boomers don't change brands" (p. 52, italics in original). Nyren dismantles this excuse nicely with examples of brand switching, and he further acknowledges that in cases where loyalty to a brand does exist, marketers who do not target Boomers give them no reason to change.

Read the full review. (PDF)

Mr. Austin at Influent50 says there are plenty of things marketers should avoid when marketing to older people. That includes photos that show the passage of time such as images of a birthday party. “That is an instant turn off for the segment,” he said.

AARP, I guess, must’ve learned this the hard way.  A post of  mine from 2007:

Food fights, Balloons and Dancing Gorillas
… I hope Mr. DeRogatis’ take on it isn’t correct - or I’m staying home and locking the doors and windows if I ever retire:

"The message of the AARP ad is that life will be one big, happy birthday party for retiring Baby Boomers, complete with food fights, balloons and dancing gorillas."

AARP is an organization for people who have birthdays:

AARP Birthday

OK, enough of picking on the big boys and girls.  I wish them luck. My only question:

Will this new agency be the agency of record for all of AARP’s advertising?

… I wonder.

Dick Stroud’s take on it all:
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Let's hope AARP's Influent50 has more success than Focalyst

Just for fun

The Karaoke Grandkids
by Chuck Nyren for The Huffington Post
2015-08-08-1439010644-1574130-grandkids5.jpg… "I don't think I have anything you can sing along with. Ask your grandmother."

"No, you have CDs!"

"Yeah, but no Mitch Miller. Would you like Thelonious Monk, Mozart or Jimi Hendrix? Your grandmother has cowboy CDs you can sing along with. And someone named Michael Bubble."

22 July 2015

The Ugly, The Bad and The Good

Tuco_RamirezThe Ugly
No surprises with the recent shakeup at Twitter:

Will Dick Costolo's Twitter Keep Disappointing Investors?
Peter Cohan, Forbes

Twitter Earnings, Released Early, Disappoint Investors
Vindu Goel, NYT

Twitter is officially adrift now, but who will rescue it?
Mathew Ingram, Fortune

My take in 2012:

Twitter & Advertising
Dick Costolo is the CEO of Twitter.  He’s a very smart, funny, down-to-earth fellow – the last two characteristics not typically associated with tech-biz heavyweights … The mobile/social media soothsayers will have you believe that there is this unknown, magical mode of persuasion that has never been thought of before – and will reveal itself any day now.

If you believe that, I have a Blackberry in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

If you log on to Twitter nowadays, it’s ugly. Graphics, ads every which way getting in the way, nonsense on my screen.  I can barely find the tweets. 

More from 2012:

Twitter is a fascinating phenomenon, has worldwide cultural and political influence and will be around for quite some time.

But it is not an advertising platform. How Twitter will eventually support itself, who knows. Perhaps some sort of underwriting.

SentenzaThe Bad
There’s still a lot of bad advice out there.  I won’t link to any because I’m too nice a guy.  From a recent article somewhere:

With more boomers using their smartphones as their primary devices for accessing the Internet, mobile ads are a surefire way to get their attention.

I think not.  I thought not a few years ago:

04 November 2013
Smartphones & Tablets, Apples & Oranges
… Advertising on smartphones?  Only if you think something half the size of a matchbook cover will catch and hold anybody’s attention.

And I thought not a few years before that:

01 May 2010
… The more people use smartphones, the less they’ll tolerate silly graphical doodads mucking up their small  screens … Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing/search (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.

And there’s this:

TV Trumps Digital in Spending and Reach

clint-eastwoodThe Good
A handful of goodies:

An interview with Alex Gibson on his Persuaders marketing radio show (Dick Stroud)

Wildlike, A Majestic Film, Challenges Boomer Males to Become Better Men.
(Brent Green)

insanityThe Insanity of Advertising
(Fred S. Goldberg)
Read excerpt on AEF site.

40, 50, 60… So what? Beauty has no age! Silver, Super models agency
(Lots of Folks)

25 June 2015

Looking great, but we’re very ill.

Last week I wrote an Afterword for a book to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. It’s about advertising to the 50+ market in Japan.

One subject covered is consumer reaction to all those age-related illness and prescription drug commercials. Through the years I’ve blogged about this a bunch of times. So I exhumed a few posts, chopped and tossed bits and pieces together, and much of the info ended up in the Afterword.  The raw ingredients:

16 September 2009
Boomer Backlash II
…  Why couldn’t it have been a car?  Laundry soap?  A computer?  A razor?  Anything but some age-related malady:

Use only as directedbcoml
By Joseph P. Kahn
There were glossy pitches for Centrum Cardio multivitamins, AARP supplemental medicare insurance plans, Visine … Contour Meter diabetes testers (now available in five vibrant colors!), Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel foot insoles, Flomax (for urinary and prostate problems), Wal-Mart prescription-drug services, Children's Benadryl Allergy and Sinus Liquid, Centrum Silver vitamin tablets, Boniva (Sally Field playing a nimble game of Twister with her granddaughter this time), Tena Serenity Pads bladder protection, and One-a-Day 50 Plus vitamins.

The Backlash: If every time someone over fifty sees a commercial targeting them and it’s always for an age-related product or service, pretty soon their eyes will glaze over, they’ll get itchy and grumpy.

I guess during the last few years of television watching I’ve been ignoring these spots because they annoy me. I’ve treated them as white noise. But because I’d just finished writing about them again, over the last week they’ve been jumping out and assaulting me.  Not pleasant experiences.

And not much has changed. We’re still portrayed as smiling, vapid pod people:

imageAt first it was refreshing to see folks over forty-five portrayed in ads and on the web—but now almost every 50+ site is centered around generic photos of smiling, vapid, mindless people in their fifties and sixties, usually in warm-up suits, always prancing around beaches, if not staring lovingly at one another, then in groups, arms draped and tucked every which way like groping octopi.

fish2Most of the time we’re in slow motion.  We float around the screen, dreamlike, as if drifting in a digitized aquarium.

But we look pretty good, usually. Although during all this surreal sashaying, the voice overs warn us not all is well.  We’re really quite ill. If not from whatever affliction we have that we’re taking drugs for, then from the beastly side effects.

Talk about cognitive dissonance.  I can’t wait to get back to the white noise.

Just for fun:

They're Grreeaat!’: The Enduring Charm of Advertising Characters
Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant, and Mr. Clean give a likable human face to their products.

mr product

More about Warren Dotz

26 May 2015

Business & Brains

Just updating slews of previous posts. As the old saying doesn’t go, everything new is old again:

Why all over 50s should start a business
By Jamie Dunn
There are so many factors as to why being over 50 can be a huge advantage when entering into the world of business and entrepreneurship.  Here's just a few of them...
Well, maybe not all of us.  Then we wouldn’t be able to hire ourselves – along with most other age and ethnic groups.  I’m all for diversity:
06 July 2011 Diversity = Productivity Redux
29 May 2013 Intergenerational Teams A Strength
The baby boomer business boom
Turn 55 and you become invisible, according to traditional marketing lore – ads for funeral plans and continence aids notwithstanding – but has that begun to change as the baby boomer cohort moves into the golden years?  Yes, says marketing commentator Adam Ferrier who believes a youth dominated marketing and advertising industry has missed a big mark in the past.
I should reference everything I’ve posted here for the last twelve years.  Or, try this:

Human Resources/Brain Power

And there’s this:

More Older Adults Are Becoming Inventors
… Whether as volunteers or for profit, older inventors like Mr. Nepper are riding a rising tide of American innovation.
Only a few posts ago I (sadly) posted about brains:
17 April 2015 Barbara Strauch: 1951-2015… In 2010, Ms. Strauch published “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind,” which concluded that certain cognitive functions peak fairly late, when people are in their 60s.
Along with forgetting where you left your keys, there’s now more:
Brain and behavior are modifiable, even as we get older By Marilynn Larkin
Research on cognitive plasticity overturns stereotypes of aging and suggests human development isn’t cast in stone … It seems the more information we gather about a given field or domain, the more likely we are to maintain competence in that area because the brain develops strategies to do so …
Sometimes I forget where I’ve left all my posts on this subject.  And I often forget that I’ve already linked to something earlier in a post:
Human Resources/Brain Power
Maybe more brain games’ll help.  Or I’ve forgotten that maybe they won’t:
For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp By Jane E. Brody

05 May 2015

Sounds Vaguely Familiar…

A handful of familiars:  

Boomers Flock to Niche Retirement Communities
by Daniel Bortz
Stargazers, equestrians, and hippies find like-minded friends and age together.

http://www.usnews.com/static/images/homepage-logo.pngRetirement communities aren't just geared toward golfers and pool loungers anymore. Niche retirement communities are on the rise… "Retirees want more choices," Carle explains. "When you have 78 million baby boomers, they have a lot of expectations with retirement."

How Baby Boomers Are Creating Their Own Retirement Communities
by Teresa Mears

From my book Advertising to Baby Boomers © 2005, 2007:

book excerpt

Also culled from the book, and a PDF download:

Chapter Four: Give Boomers Room for Choices
….When developing or molding a community for Baby Boomers, start with the concept of ―neutral. Do not confuse this with ―sameness. For example, when designing an indoor community space, do not assume that it will be used mostly for Bingo. Fashion it with flexibility so that it may be used for almost anything...

The Name Game:

Redefining Senior Living For Boomers Through The NameStorm Project

From my book ©2005, 2007:

… The common term used for such places is “Planned Communities.” However, when presenting planned communities to the public, Baby Boomers could wince at the concept. You know it’s planned, we know it’s planned (What else could it be?)—but “planned” may sound too restrictive to Boomers. We don’t like the idea of anything planned. We want to do it ourselves, construct our own lives. Let us sustain the illusion, or a partial illusion: communities are not planned. We do not want to live in prefab theme parks …

Twitterdum & Twitterdee:

Twitter at the Crossroads
by David Auerbach
image… Twitter as we know it is over. While the early release of ugly revenue numbers sent the company’s stock spiraling Tuesday, the actual quarterly earnings report that followed that afternoon was even worse.

From September 2012:

Twitter & Advertising
Twitter is a fascinating phenomenon, has worldwide cultural and political influence … and will be around for quite some time.

But it is not an advertising platform. How Twitter will eventually support itself, who knows.  Maybe some sort of underwriting.

The mobile/social media soothsayers will have you believe that there is this unknown, magical mode of persuasion that has never been thought of before – and will reveal itself any day now. 

If you believe that, I have a Blackberry in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

From NPR:

For Advertisers, Baby Boomers Are A Market Hiding In Plain Sight
NPRBaby boomers account for about half of all consumer spending, yet only 10 percent of marketing dollars are aimed their way.

What to link to?  Everything I’ve been screaming about for years and years (as have others).