24 December 2005

Baby Boomer New Year's Resolutions

There'll be a blogging break for the holidays.

Let me leave you with a piece by Brent Green:

Baby Boomer New Year's Resolutions

Back after the 1st of the year…

20 December 2005

Stainmaster Spot on the Web

The Stainmaster spot I blogged about a few months ago is available on the web as a Quicktime movie.

Now I can download it for presentations. How few commercials out there that I can point to and say, "Good one."

16 December 2005

Down-to-Earth Tips About Advertising to Boomers

Thanks to Second50Years.com for featuring my book:
Chuck Nyren, an experienced advertiser, provides practical advice geared to help business owners connect more effectively with their Baby Boomer audience.
You can also buy the book there.

Second50Years.com is quite a hefty resource:
Second50Years.com finds and packages information about the mature market, making it easier and more affordable for businesses of any size to stay on top of best marketing practices, news, and the demographics of Baby Boomers and Seniors.
And make sure to rifle through their Tips Archive. They're offering way too much valuable info for free. (Sort of like this blog and a whole bunch of others...)

I have no idea what you get if you become a member - but it might just be worth it.

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12 December 2005

Ads target empty nests, full wallets

Here's a good piece by Bob Moos of The Dallas Morning News:
Though marketers still covet the 18-to-49 age group in this youth-obsessed culture, a growing number of companies realize that fiftysomething consumers offer a lucrative business opportunity they can't afford to overlook.
I don't agree with everything everybody says in the article (well…I agree with everything I say, of course) — but overall it's on the money.

Something I don't completely agree with:
Marketing experts say companies need to know how to tug at the heartstrings of Americans over 50, because emotional appeals work better with that generation than a recitation of facts.
Yes and no. If you do want to 'tug on the heartstrings' you'd better have people creating the campaigns who know which ones to tug at. Tug at really dumb ones, insulting ones, irrelevant ones, and.....

In today's wacky world of branding it's almost better to focus more on the product, the facts. Boomers have been pitched to their whole lives. They can see a shill coming a mile away. This has less to do with being a Baby Boomer and more to do with being older and wiser to the ways of Madison Avenue. Make sure they don't have to dig through too much vapid, brand-driven, emotionally ingratiating silliness to find out exactly what a product or service is.

Follow Bob Moos' reporting on Baby Boomers (and older).

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09 December 2005

Boomer Nostalgia

Columnist Bob Baird of The Journal News made me chuckle more than a few times with his takes on Boomer Nostalgia:
…I started asking myself, "Wasn't '12 Angry Men' dramatic enough?" Forty years after the 1957 classic with Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman and all the rest, did we really need a new version with Tony Danza?….. You hear The Who's "Happy Jack" followed by "I Can See for Miles." It sounds like a commercial for "The Who's Greatest Hits," but it's Hummer and a headlight manufacturer hawking their products......if this keeps up, maybe there's a "Who's Greatest Commercial Hits" down the road...

I have mixed feelings about this. The Who, Stones - do they really need the dough? If I hear Richie Havens or Etta James crooning behind commercials, fine. They're not billionaires. Let them roll up some royalties. I'm all for it.

But Sir Paul? If he's down and out he can come over to my place any time for free grub and a shower. And I'll give him a couple of bucks to autograph my half-melted and warped "Ticket to Ride" single I have stashed somewhere (even though he didn't sing lead on it). The record wouldn't play anyhow even if I had a turntable and one of those curly, plastic round thingies - so it's not good for much else except to scribble on.

But the real questions are these: Do advertisers benefit from invoking the past willy-nilly? When those tunes come on, am I really paying attention? Or do they send me off into the ether, conjuring up all sorts of bizarre and moldy feelings, images, remembrances?

By the time I float back, the spot is over.

Donovan's been hawking something lately, I'm not sure what. I'll do my best the next time to pay attention and not "catch the wind."

07 December 2005

Margit Novack's Moving Solutions

I had a spirited chat the other day with Margit Novack, founder of Moving Solutions® and President of NASMM, The National Association of Senior Move Managers.
"Moving Solutions helps people relocate. While the context of what we do deals with 'things,' our business is about people and our expertise is about solutions. Our special commitment is working with mature adults, individuals in the midst of health crises and people of any age who have a disability. We also help working professionals accomplish smooth moves in the midst of their over-extended lives. We reduce the stress and physical demands of moving with caring, efficient and cost effective services."
I advise a leisurely stroll through the two web sites linked above. But if you really want to know more about Moving Solutions (and you do) read this piece in Time Magazine.

06 December 2005

Douglas Rushkoff's Get Back In The Box

Douglas Rushkoff has a business book coming out next week:
"...the secret of success lies inside the box; businesses that focus on their core competencies, their customers' needs and their work environment come up with better innovations in the long run than those that rely on flashy ad campaigns..."
After devouring a two-part interview on Marc Babej's Being Reasonable Blog, it's obvious that Mr. Rushkoff's views on the silliness of most branding techniques mirror my own.

But I knew that already. Required viewing for anybody in marketing, advertising, or PR is Mr. Rushkoff's Frontline documentary The Persuaders. Buy it or watch it on the web.

Link to Part II of the Douglas Rushkoff interview.

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01 December 2005

Infomercials and Baby Boomers

I think the statute of limitations has expired on this piece I penned for Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. It ran in May 2005 and was available only by subscription:

Don't Talk So Fast to Baby Boomers

Chuck Nyren -- Broadcasting & Cable

Infomercials. That ugly word conjures up half-hours of tacky, humdrum hucksterism. But it's the content that's clumsy, not the concept.

Throughout most of the last century, print was king, even during the age of radio and the early years of TV. Jingles, slogans, crisp copy, animation and clever visuals were still poor cousins of privileged print.

Beginning in the middle 1960s, dazzling cinema-like spots mixed with the succinct wit of print became the pinnacle of advertising mastery. An effective television campaign often did it all: customer awareness, imprinting, positioning, branding and messaging.

Not so today, at least for baby boomers. And it isn't simply because we're not being targeted. The real reason is that our attention spans are longer. We want to know more. We need to know more for a product or service to be imprinted. A 30-second salvo will miss us by a mile. We will subconsciously (oftentimes consciously) dismiss it.

If television advertising was once the poor cousin to print, nowadays, infomercials are the bedraggled outcasts of both. While there are exceptions, infomercials are shoddy also-rans in the advertising world.

But there is hope. Some marketers are taking advantage of the Internet and cable TV. “On-demand” advertising is the new catch phrase.

The question is how to reach baby boomers. “You can impart a pretty cool image in 30 seconds, especially with digital effects,” says Ron Koliha, a creative director and copywriter for stereo-components manufacturer Harmon-Kardon. “But when it comes to hard goods—especially high-tech hard goods—the product is the brand. Ignore the product, and the brand just becomes a symbol. Most of us baby boomers have spent 40+ years digesting information and deciding what we want. The advertiser who is willing to tell us the story of a product has the advantage.”

The cliché “thinking outside the box” applies here, but with a twist: Think outside the television box. If you are targeting baby boomers and you severely storyboard an infomercial (especially by committee), it will end up DOA. With the longform infomercial, a genuine relationship between your product or service and target market is vital, and you have plenty of time to develop one.

There are many talented baby boomer film writers/directors, editors and cinematographers who haven't gotten their hands dirty in ages. Some are now producers. Some work in television. Some are sitting around doing nothing. Find them and hire them. And trust them.

At some point in the '60s, someone convinced somebody that one-minute commercials could be exciting, absorbing, mini-masterpieces and do their jobs. If you want to reach baby boomers, now is the time to persuade agencies and clients that this is likewise true for 5 to 30-minute infomercials.

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29 November 2005

Baby Boomers and Universal Design

Megan Kamerick's article on Bankrate.com, Boomers push interest in Universal Design homes, is worth a read:
"The idea is simple: a home that is accommodating and convenient to all users at all stages of life. Universal Design principles have been around since the 1970s when the phrase was coined by architect Ronald Mace, who became director of the Center for Universal Design at The University of North Carolina."
There's nothing much new there for me - but that's probably because I just finished researching and writing an article about UD for The National Association of Homebuilders' 50+Housing Magazine. It's about how to convince Baby Boomers to consider universal design by positioning UD so it doesn't smack of 'old and infirm.'

I don't know what issue the article will be in - maybe the next one or one due out in the Spring.

22 November 2005

Marketers are Taking Note of Baby Boomers

The press release says, "The University of Maryland continues its series on the Baby Boom Generation." Don't ask me where the rest of the series is or will be.

This interview is a good one:
"The reality of the marketing opportunity presented by the aging of the Baby Boomers is beginning to be recognizedby the advertising industry, at least. I'm beginning to see more ads targeted at Baby Boomers," says Associate Professor of Business Janet Wagner at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Students email me every so often, asking for info about this and that. Colleges and university business schools seem to be paying attention to Baby Boomers. I know this: after Advertising to Baby Boomers was selected by The Advertising Educational Foundation as a classroom resource, schools started to scoop it up. It's now in the libraries of Duke University, The Harvard Business School, Northwestern University, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, University of Washington, and lots of others.

Hmm. Professor Chuck. I like the sound of that.....

(Back after Thanksgiving.)

21 November 2005

New Site: The Fifty Plus Market News

Frederic Serriere has expanded his influential Senior Strategic Network franchise to include a site for the U.S.: The 50 Plus Market News. Bookmark it.

I'm honored to have written a piece for the premiere issue:

Don't Paint Too Rosy A Picture

"If the myth of the non-dying, perfectly healthy Baby Boomer persists, folks in the aging industry are going to have millions of very angry octogenarians their hands."

Check out the The Mature Market International Edition - and all the other ones for the UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Spain, and Germany.

15 November 2005

Mature Market Miscellany

Even ethereal pundits get tired of their own prattle (at least this one does). I'll take a breather this week, and point you to a variety of other folks (and one big organization) having their say:

Across the pond, David Yelland of Webber Shandwick talks to Joe Lepper of Brand Republic: Over-50s need to be better targeted says baby boomers report.

No big surprise: AARP Wants You (to Buy Its Line of Products).

Brent Green tells you What Baby Boomers want for the Holidays.

Matt Thornhill has sent out another first-rate Boomer Project Newsletter for November.

And thanks to Brian Reilly of GeezerJock Magazine for his comment about my book.

I'll be back chattering away next week.

14 November 2005

My Favorite Cyber-Myth

How I snicker and roll my eyes whenever I read about Baby Boomers fumbling around on computers, scratching their heads, totally flummoxed. Sure, there is a percentage of any age group that's technologically challenged - but Boomers as a whole have embraced the internet and aren't afraid to plunge into the ether brain first.

Remember that commercial for an online travel company where a twenty-something woman is searching for a vacation and hotel for her bumbling parents? Implied: moron mom and moron dad couldn't do it themselves.

Read this article by Jeffrey Grau in iMedia Connection:
Forrester Research also found that very few online travelers start searches using the new breed of travel search engines — most likely because they are not aware of their existence … Hitwise found that visitors to the top travel search engines were by far likely to be over 55 years of age. Hitwise attributed this to baby boomers …
Madison Avenue doesn't think that anybody over forty-five can even turn on a computer. And when some youngster flips it on for them, all they probably do is stare at the virtual desktop until they nod off.

10 November 2005

A Generous Review

I stumbled over a review of my book at GenerationTarget.com. Had no idea it was there, have never heard of the company:
GenerationTarget.com is where people can turn for the most sophisticated and current marketing information regarding our multi-generational marketplace. Thanks to the miraculous breakthroughs of extended longevity during the previous century, America now has six living generations. Each generation is like a separate culture with values and drivers exclusive to their own cohort. Just as one radio station could never resonate with all six generations, neither will business be able to capture all six segments using one approach.
But I have heard of Dr. Bruce Clark and Mark Goldstein. They co-founded Age Wave in 1986.

There are scores of short, valuable articles on the site. I've only had time to read three or four - but I'll head on back there every so often and eventually devour the rest of them.

Thanks for the review, Bruce and Mark.

Previous post: Newsweek's The Boomer Files

07 November 2005

Baby Boomers, Adult Communities, and Education

I did a conference call consult recently with a couple of on-the-ball entrepreneurs. The product/service targets Baby Boomers and their interest in continuing education.

Afterwards I sent them hither and yon. One destination was Campus Continuum:
Campus Continuum focuses solely on developing, marketing, and operating university-branded 55+ Active Adult Communities that are tightly integrated with their academic hosts.
If you are creating advertising collateral for any sort of adult community, and the housing is near a university or college, turn this into a selling point.

And/or check out what's required to be a part of Campus Continuum:
Campus Continuum also works with developers that seek assistance from our experienced team to help them bring their college-affiliated projects to successful fruition. We welcome partnership arrangements.

Newsweek: The Boomer Files

The Newsweek cover story this week is about leading-edge Baby Boomers hitting sixty. It's good - although I could've done without the stupid quiz.

The Albert Brooks piece had me gagging up my coffee, I was laughing so hard. It's a tongue-in-cheek rant about the ad industry — reminds me of a major theme in my book (hire new and used Baby Boomer creatives because the you-know-whos are screwing it up), along with trenchant comments in Brent Green's book (the dumb use of music):
Recently I have been embarrassed to be part of this generation. The reason? Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue is never wrong. They're the neighbor across the street that sees you in the way you don't see yourself. They're young, they're cocky, and what they say about the older generation becomes the truth. People still think there was a real Mr. Whipple, so I know whatever Madison Avenue says about us is what everyone's going to believe anyway.
A few days ago I wrote one of my wacky little pieces because an editor for a magazine targeting the aging industry wanted something from me. But he rejected it. Funny thing is, in my article I answered the main question in the cover story, and in Newsweek's Podcast (at least through the prism of marketing/advertising).

Nice to be two days prescient...

04 November 2005

Forbes Magazine Weighs in on Baby Boomers

How To Play: The Upcoming Boomer Boom by Tom Van Riper has some juicy quotes from Brent Green and others - along with perceptive (but not surprising) statements such as:
Despite conventional wisdom, which keeps many major advertisers focused on younger consumers, the boomer generation is not set in its ways when it comes to product choices, according to studies by MarketResearch.com. In fact, their studies show boomers are more receptive to advertising than their Gen X and Gen Y counterparts, who tend to reject marketing claims out of hand.
Old news for a lot of us - but I'm glad the Big Boys are catching on.

02 November 2005

Love Those Boomers....

People have asked me why I've kept mum about the Love Those Boomers cover story in Business Week. The answer is this: I'm not telling you why.

But I will point you to a few blogs that are discussing it:

David Wolfe's Ageless Marketing

Brent Green's Boomers Blog

Jacobs Media

Dick Stroud's 50-Plus Blog

And three or four pages of comments about the article on the Business Week web site

28 October 2005


The other day I had a spirited chat with Pete Gammell, Editor/Producer for Seattle's KIRO 710. Then he fashioned my ramblings into something worth listening to (along with adding his own astute comments). The 'special report' aired a bunch of times on Thursday, October 27th.

My segment is here.

Go ahead. Click it. It's only 90 seconds.

24 October 2005

Top Trade Magazine Orders 100 Copies of Advertising to Baby Boomers

One of the top weekly advertising trade magazines has purchased 100 copies of Advertising to Baby Boomers to offer as premiums for new subscriptions and renewals. Yes, my publishers told me which one—but I'm not sure if it's appropriate to name names (yet). If you read the trades you'll find out soon enough. The magazine may order more copies if the promotion is a success.

Paramount Market Publishing is also looking into foreign rights. The book is being talked about and lugged around in England, Australia, and Canada.

October 30th addendum: The word is out. It's ADWEEK. My thanks to all involved at Adweek and VNU Business Publications USA.

21 October 2005

New Book: Dick Stroud's The 50-Plus Market

Dick Stroud's new book The 50-Plus Market is getting rousing reviews. No doubt Kogan Page is thrilled:
"A thoughtful, well-researched and thorough exploration of the 50 plus market. Every marketer should read this book." — John Pickett, Head of Market & Media Research, Saga
It was an honor for me to make a small contribution between the covers.

Word is out that in December The 50-Plus Market will be available on this side of the pond.

18 October 2005

Boomer Century

Here's a pretty good cover story from American Heritage by Joshua Zeitz.

We'll be seeing a lot of Baby Boomers media coverage in January. That's when (technically) the first ones start turning sixty.

I'm champing at the bit, waiting for this one by Leonard Steinhorn.

October 30th addendum
: Read Brent Green's review of The Greater Generation

14 October 2005


I'm no Geezer Jock. A bit of golf and hour-long bike rides on a very flat trail three or four times a week is about it for me. I am thinking of taking up tennis again after a ten-year layoff—but doubles only. Or I'd die.

Even without yours truly joining their huffing and puffing ranks, there are a lot of Geezer Jocks. Millions. And a magazine for them:
Our mission is to cover the new and active way of growing old in America. No longer are people settling for shuffleboard. Or mall walking. Or deep knee bends. They are running track, playing baseball - yes, hardball! - and even surfing well into their 60s and beyond. In print and online, GeezerJock celebrates the regenerative power of sports, activity and competition.
Certainly GeezerJock is something media planners and buyers should be running after. It's a perfect target market for just about any product or service.

Related: An inspirational documentary not about penguins.

Update Dec 22, '05: Read this piece about GeezerJock by Lisa Granatstein in MEDIAWEEK.

10 October 2005

AARP & Home Depot Offer Free Workshops for Boomers

AARP and Home Depot have put together a few free home-improvement workshops for Baby Boomers. (They're scheduled for October 11th, so I don't know how long the info will be on the page.)

It's a good idea, and good marketing. HGTV is a big hit with 50+ folks (although you'd never know it if you watched.)

Even I've been doing some home-improving. Although banished from a recent 'insta-floor' laying, a paint roller was slapped into my hands for some ceiling and wall work. After the project was finished, I really didn't feel any sort of 'sense of accomplishment' - but what I did get out of it was a great Jackson Pollocky shirt I wear whenever I go to a hardware store or art museum. It commands respect.

The web page for AARP/Home Depot is a bit insipid - at least the flash presentation is. Three rotating pictures: one of a couple holding paint brushes (good - but their shirts don't look anything like mine), one of a couple goofing around with a garden hose, and one of a lady changing a light bulb - her husband cheerfully holding the ladder.

If there were five or six rotating pics, the garden hose one would be fine. But since it's one of only three, it doesn't work. And the light bulb one, of course, reminds me of that old joke, "How many Baby Boomers does it take…?"

I guess Home Depot and AARP think Baby Boomers need to take a course on how to change a light bulb. Or maybe the course is about how to hold a ladder.

I bet their ad agency could've come up with more realistic (and less demeaning) scenarios.

06 October 2005

Baby Boomers Don't Have Important Sex

Jennifer Hunter of the Chicago Sun Times cracked me up today. Apparently, Baby Boomers don't have sex anymore — and if they do, nobody really cares:
Does the CDC think that once it sags it flags? That no one over 44 can rise to the occasion? That sex is not a daily (or weekly) part of our lives? That was what my kids used to think, that my husband and I only had sex twice and it resulted in child one and child two. It was too icky to think of "old" people flapping about shamelessly in the sheets.
I guess the CDC and children aren't much different than most advertising agencies. The idea of considering us (except for the obvious age-related products and services) is too 'icky' to think about.

Well, I won't upset any kids or account execs with graphic details — but the CDC, you might want to know about this: Older Daters Looking For Mates Online (Associated Press)

03 October 2005

Invoking "The Sixties": Fidelity Financial vs. Ameriprise

Two major financial planning companies, Fidelity Investments and Ameriprise, are all agog over Baby Boomers.

Colleague Brent Green dissects Fidelity's recent spot, and overall I agree with him (it's good).

By comparison, Ameriprise's campaign slinks around and takes the low road — invoking 'The Sixties' for no reason other than to unctuously 'brand' their service.

The two spots I've seen open up with a montage (make that a sloppy collage) of standard-issue 'Love-In' stock footage and clips of home movies. There may be some recently shot computer-played-with video mixed into the mess. At some point, a bunch of kids pop out of a VW Bus — and magically morph into fiftysomethings.

Or something. Quite honestly, the spots made me so queasy that I rolled my eyes and turned away.

The through-line for both is something like "Back then you probably weren't thinking much about your financial security."

…… No, we weren't.

This is about as insulting as it gets. Invoking 'The Sixties' for a financial service is plainly absurd. Among other things, it perpetuates the false myth that Baby Boomers want to be teenagers again (or have never wanted to be anything else). And it demeans all that The Sixties represents.

As Brent Green points out, the Fidelity spot takes us through the whole life of an individual. I know it's hard to believe, but we were also alive in the late 70s, 80s, 90s - and will be contributing and helping to shape the next three or four decades.

Ameriprise seems to have no idea what 'The Sixties' meant to any of us - and they proceed to trash it. For some it was purely political. For others, simply fun. For still others, it was a philosophical and/or spiritual awakening. Others found their artistic and creative centers.

But there were millions who found the whole decade horrifying. They shied away from it, had more conservative (or at least quieter) values.

And, I'm guessing, most found it to be a combination of all the above - along with a slew of other qualities too numerous to mention. To somehow reduce it all to climbing out of a time-machine Volkswagen Bus and smiling idiotically…

What if you were targeting the WWII generation for financial services? How would this spot play?: "You survived the Great Depression, danced the jitterbug, fought in trenches and on battleships while watching your buddies being blown up and killed, worked 12-hour shifts as Rosie the Riveter. Back then you probably weren't thinking much about your financial security."

No, they weren't.

How about targeting African-American Baby Boomers? "You were hosed and beaten by police, marched with Martin Luther King, flirted with the philosophies of Malcolm X, danced funky to James Brown and proclaimed yourselves Black and Proud. Back then you probably weren't thinking much about your financial security."

… No, I bet they weren't.

Companies have to think twice (and advertising agencies, three or four times) about gratuitously invoking The Sixties when targeting Baby Boomers. Fidelity Investments gets it right, Ameriprise doesn't.

Related Posts:

Ameriprise vs. Fidelity Financial Redux 4.07.2006

More In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 4.11.2006

UPDATE: January 3, 2006: I'm getting tired of picking on the Ameriprise campaign - but advertising/marketing and general 'this is my life' blogger Megan isn't.

Read her post, then the comment of hers after mine - about a chat with her father. It says it all:
Tonight I alerted my dad of this upcoming commercial (he was born in '53) and he sighed with exasperation.

30 September 2005

Too Unhip To Understand

I always like reading pieces about advertising and Baby Boomers by people who are not in the marketing/advertising industry. They don't pontificate (like yours truly) and simply call'em as they see'em.

Here's someone I wrote about a few months ago.

This month, Paul Briand's Too Unhip To Understand offering in his Boomer Angst!!! column is a droll, tongue-in-cheek take on commercials. He doesn't 'get' them - and certainly doesn't go out and 'get' the products advertised.

But Mr. Briand, although he pretends not to be, is a rather hip character. If you do click this link to his article, he'll start rapping. Right outa' your computer.

I thought only twenty-somethings in Nikes could do that.

27 September 2005

Stainmaster Empty Nester Spot A Good One

The son moves out of the house. The empty-nester parents go through three or four different uses for his former bedroom - goofy scenarios (and a few messy ones) - until finally putting it back the way it was - just in case he decides to visit.

The humor is gentle, silly, touching. A ham-fisted creative might have come up with derogatory, insulting personas and scenarios - like the preposterous notion of Baby Boomers wanting to become narcissistic teenagers again. These folks are loving, a bit lost (who wouldn't be) — and the fun-poking has to do with human nature, not generation-specific stereotypes.

And the spot is well-researched.

The Richards Group is the agency of record, but I don't know if they produced the spot. Stainmaster Carpet has a few of their commercials on the web - but not this one. I hope they put it up (if only so I can download it and use it in presentations).

Addendum, December 19th 2005: They put the spot on the web. Watch it.

26 September 2005

Upcoming Baby Boomers Marketing/Advertising Conferences

This week (Sept 28-29) is the Baby Boomer and Senior Marketing Conference in Sydney, Australia:
Understanding An Ageing Generation With Youthful Attitudes To Create Intelligent And Non-Patronising Communication Strategies
Kevin Lavery and Gill Walker will be presenting.

Swinging 60s & Baby Boomers Series (Nov 3-4) in London, England:
A two day, separately bookable extravaganza illustrating the latest trends in the 50+ market.

The Segmentation Forum will address the debates around the latest innovations in strategic 50+ Segmentation & The Media Consumption Forum will provide the answers to your most pressing concerns regarding the behaviour forming 50+ media habits.
Among the presenters will be Dick Stroud.

23 September 2005

Younger audience near its use-by date.

Simply put, they are ahead of us. Us meaning the U.S., they meaning the U.K., Australia, France, Canada.

Here's a piece by Paul McIntyre in The Sydney Morning Herald. Excerpt:
It's a funny game, advertising. Few want to get serious about targeting those with the money - the older age brackets - which gives the network with the young guns a handy position.

But it will change when the advertising herd does start a meaningful migration to older folks.
They used to follow our leads in marketing, ape our advertising. Now, we'd be in better shape economically if we started following and aping them.

20 September 2005

"Follow the boomers, follow the bucks."

How refreshing to read about a fellow who (in contemporary parlance) gets it.

Bob Hastings is the CEO of the Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce in Maine — and he's not thrilled with his state's advertising campaign for tourism. Read Tom Groening's piece in the Bangor Daily News:
Using a photograph of a twentysomething Lycra-clad man climbing the rock face of a mountain to sell a Maine vacation is just wrong, Bob Hastings believes.
The "real Maine," Hastings argues, is a place where couples in their 50s might have breakfast in a downtown diner and hear lobstermen gripe about the fishing in the next booth.
Mr. Hastings also grasps the importance of the internet and how Baby Boomers use it.

What impresses me the most is that Bob doesn't need to read my book — or any other books about marketing/advertising to Baby Boomers. Fortunately (for Yours Truly and my publisher), not too many people are as on top of things as Mr. Hastings. And even if they happen to be as smart, they're often intimidated by ad agencies' youth-only agendas.

After reading this profile in The Angelis Press by William Lannon, I'm guessing that not much intimidates Mr. Hastings.

16 September 2005

Sir Paul as Spokesperson

Flack Ace Peter Himler's take on Fidelity Investment's investment in Sir Paul as spokesperson for their company is a must read.

Also, Mr. Himler has recently tossed some video into his blog. Click the clips on the left ("Why I Blog" and "Getting Behind the Headlines").

As I've said before, there's no better spokesperson for PR than PH.

13 September 2005

Selling Online to the Older Shopper

Writing for ecommerce-guide.com, James McGuire focuses his latest piece on Selling to the Older Shopper.

What does the article say about Baby Boomers? A whole bunch, including this unsurprising but ignored fact:
Today's seniors are reluctant to buy online from a site they haven't heard of; if they don't know a business offline it won't get their dollars online. But with the age 50-64 group, there's a mentality of wanting to try new things and being adventurous. The fact that an online vendor is newly launched is no deterrent for them.

Have browser, will travel.

08 September 2005

Marketing and Age and Everything in 324 Words

Well, I wish they were my words - but I'm too much of a slobbering gusher. So here's Dick Stroud's simple, concise Theory of Everything (The UK version, at least). He wraps it up pretty well.

Also download Dick's two new articles in PDF:

The Charmed Generation Becomes Generation Broke

Digital Marketing for The Charmed Generation

Make sure you (at the very least) check out the second one. Dick's web site design and navigation commandments should be carved in ethereal stone.

For another Theory of Everything from New Zealand, read this article.

03 September 2005

It's okay to be gray.

As everyone knows, thanks to so many astute media pundits and marketing/advertising gurus, Baby Boomers think they're still teenagers and are horrified when they look in the mirror and see some hoary stranger in their forties or fifties. (And in a few months, many of these malicious apparitions will take the form of normal human beings in their sixties.)

Botox! Hair coloring! These are the answers to that creepy, disingenuous image staring back at them.

….. But according to an article by Jack Neff in Ad Age (subscription required), "AGING POPULATION BRUSHES OFF COLORING," the hair coloring and salon industries are in the doldrums — all thanks to Baby Boomers eschewing these phony ways of attempting to look younger:
"The graying of america is at the root of the problem for the $1 billion-plus mass-market hair-coloring business. The category has cooled from double-digit growth the past two decades to more than 4% declines the past two years..."
Here's another article by Colette Bancroft of the St. Petersburg Times. An excerpt:
Diana Lewis Jewell is the author of Going Gray, Looking Great! The Modern Woman's Guide to Unfading Glory (Fireside, 2004) and a former marketing director of Vogue.

"Look at this generation, our generation," says Jewell, who is in her 50s. "We always wanted to be ourselves."

The number of gray heads is growing, she says, because of "that boomer individualistic attitude: It's okay to be gray."

In her book she cites a poll commissioned by the AARP that shows 53 percent of boomer women and 6 percent of men in that age group color their hair.

"That means 47 percent of women and 94 percent of men don't."
Also check out the adjunct article with quotes from a bunch of old, creaky, silver-haired geezers.

29 August 2005

The Very Secretive Forth & Towne

If you're in the advertising/marketing industry (or in the retail clothing industry, I'm guessing) you're probably sick of hearing about Forth & Towne - a new set of thirty-odd stores opening up around the country.

The story behind it: parent company The Gap has decided to take on Chico's and a few other clothing retailers, offering affordable, fashion-conscious apparel for women Baby Boomers.

So you don't have to wade through the media coverage, here are the two best articles I've found about the hubbub:

Generation Gap
(Chicago Sun-Times, Cheryl V. Jackson)

Filling the Gap: (Associated Press, Anne D'Innocenzio)

From Ms. Jackson's article:
For now, Forth & Towne isn't advertising. It's just throwing open the doors Wednesday and waiting to see who pops in.
Oh ...... great idea! Just ignore the largest, richest demographic — a generation very much accustomed to being advertised to (and not particularly happy that they're off the radar nowadays) — and one that has always responded well to intelligent, informative advertising.

There are so many ladies I know around my age who've stopped going to malls, stopped physically shopping for clothing (they pour over catalogs and/or order online) because there isn't much out there for them.

But don't let them know about Forth & Towne. Just hope that they pop in.

27 August 2005

Baby Boomers Conquer Self-Employment Market

My book is selling well within the advertising and marketing industry...

But I really wrote it for non-industry folk: advertisers, anybody or any company with a product or service for Baby Boomers — and entrepreneurs.

Here's a press release about Baby Boomers as entrepreneurs:
Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports the nation is on the brink of an explosion of new business start-ups.

The interesting thing is this boom, which is said will resemble the dot. com boom of the late ‘90’s, will be led by baby boomers and would-be retirees and tend to be better educated, healthier, and more tech-savvy than their 20-something predecessors.

25 August 2005

Madison Avenue Fever

This documentary doesn't have anything to do with advertising to Baby Boomers today — but if you're a Baby Boomer and/or in advertising, it should be fun:
Madison Avenue Fever is an entertaining and informative look at the birth and development of television commercials in the 50's and 60's, the period known as the “golden age of television.”

Remember the Ajax knight on horseback, the happy kid who learns he has no cavities after brushing with Crest, and so many other commercials that have become a part of American heritage and imbedded in the memories of baby boomers?
More on this "Comic Documentary About the Early Days of TV Advertising."

23 August 2005

Where's the TV for us?

Here's a good article by Karin Lipson of Newsday.com.

Network television not only is under siege from other media - but compounds the problem by ignoring Baby Boomers.

Brad Adgate of Horizon Media and Alan Wurtzel, president of research for NBC Universal, do a good job exposing the silliness of television advertisers (and advertising agencies) targeting only the 19-49 demographic:
There's never been an "older" audience quite like the baby boomers, for one thing. "I don't necessarily think, as the first baby boomers turn 60, [that they're] necessarily more or less brand-loyal than someone who's 30," Adgate said. "You're getting a group of these 75 million baby boomers who are very, very active, and there's a lot of them."

NBC's Wurtzel, interestingly, agrees. What some advertisers "fail to realize is that there has been a huge change in people's lifestyle," Wurtzel said. Baby boomers, for instance, "wound up having babies 10 years older than the previous generation. If you would really look at a person's 'life stage,' you'd probably have a better predictor of their consuming behavior than if you look at their age. So you can certainly argue that the 19-to-49 demographic is somewhat obsolete."

18 August 2005

The Most Famous Advertising Man in the World

While bantering with Ray & Brad on The Advertising Show, we started to talk about the history of advertising—and (no surprise) David Ogilvy's name came up. I think I stumped the stars - asking them how old they thought Mr. Ogilvy was when he wrote his first ad.

Answer: Thirty-nine.

The ads/campaigns that David Ogilvy is most famous for were created when he was in his forties and fifties. (Advertising agencies today don't like to hear this.)

Here is an entertaining (and revealing) speech given by Kenneth Roman last year about David Ogilvy. An excerpt:
When he began to make his mark on Madison Avenue, Fortune described him. “At fifty-three, Ogilvy is a remarkable young-looking man, with wavy, dark-blond hair (cut rather long), blue eyes, and a fair complexion, who might easily be mistaken for a successful British actor. He smokes a pipe, his speech is that of an English gentleman, and he wears tweed to the office, where he is served tea every afternoon by a maid named Bridey Murphy. His vests have lapels.”
Mr. Roman is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide - and was also a guest on The Advertising Show.

15 August 2005

On The Advertising Show

Major thanks to Brad Forsythe, Ray Schilens, Stephanie Ceritelli, and all involved with The Advertising Show for putting up with me as a guest last Sunday, August 7th. It was great fun, and a real honor. (And to be honest, I was a bit shocked that they called. The book is barely out of the gate.)

You can listen to the archived show here. Two hours compressed to 79 minutes.

This week their guest is Brian Steinberg, the advertising columnist for The Wall Street Journal. The week after that, Mike Boylson, Executive Vice President/CMO of the J.C. Penney Corporation. And in September, (Cyber-Legend) Lars Bastholm of AKQA is booked.

What's the matter? Can't they attract any important people???

14 August 2005

Digital Agencies Hunt for Video Talent

Kevin Newcomb of ClickZ reports:
With more advertisers looking to enhance their online ads and Web sites with video, more agencies are looking both inside and out to find talent to bridge the gap between offline video and online rich media.

"The challenge with finding the right people is on a conceptual level," Troy Young, VP of interactive strategy at Omnicom's Organic, told ClickZ News. "This is really hard stuff, creating content that people want to share. The goal is to find storytellers that understand the medium."
Hmmm. I wonder if digital media agencies should take a look at the two chapters in my book that The Advertising Educational Foundation has on their web site.