30 June 2005

A Few Good Newsletters

If you're a newsletter fan (I think of them as email blogs), there are a handful of insightful ones about advertising and marketing to the 50+ demographic:

Matt Thornhill of The Boomer Project puts together a fun newsletter full of juicy, informative stories.

The Mature Market's newsletter has links to lots of original and reprinted articles from around the world. Find out how other countries are dealing with advertising and marketing to Baby Boomers.

Mary Furlong's newsletter comes out infrequently, but is always worth the wait.

One I don't subscribe to is Dick Stroud's newsletter. That's because his blog is an every day stop for me.

There are others - but they tend to be exclusively promotional newsletters touting the companies. (I call them opt-in spam.) Who needs a slightly different ad showing up in your mailbox every month?

27 June 2005

New Baby Boomers Magazine?

In an earlier post I talked a bit about magazines targeting Baby Boomers. Here's an interesting piece from the New York Times about Harold Whittlesey McGraw III and his accomplishments at McGraw-Hill. An excerpt:
McGraw-Hill is investigating a number of growth initiatives tied to BusinessWeek, both online and in print. One idea is a magazine aimed at baby boomers, according to several people close to the discussions.
Good for Mr. McGraw. (And he's a Baby Boomer, btw.)

22 June 2005


I ran across this word in an article, rolled my eyes, and bookmarked it for some sort of comment.

But lucky for me my friend Dick Stroud beat me to it, so I don't have to waste my time blogging this one. Just read his blog.

20 June 2005

Barbies 'n Baseball

The Louisville Slugger Museum has an odd but smart (at least marketing-wise) exhibit going, Barbies & Baseball:
Acclaimed contemporary photographer David Levinthal creates stunning portraits using two great American icons - Barbie dolls and baseball player figurines. The miniature models come alive on big photo prints, bursting with color and drama.
Baby Boomers are inveterate museum-goers. But there are so many museums. The brilliance of this particular summer exhibit is simply this:

If I were driving through Louisville with my more-significant-than-I-am Other and said, "Hey! Let's go to the Louisville Slugger Museum!" I imagine I'd get some eye-rolls, some disgusted sighing, a "...what's a louisville slugger…"

But if I added, "And guess what? They're having a Barbie exhibit! Lots of Barbie stuff and baseball! I don't quite get the connection -- maybe there's a Barbie baseball team or something -- it's hard to keep up with all these expansion teams .... but Barbie! Lots of Barbie! You remember … the doll!" I bet we'd be making a stop — and I probably wouldn't have to hear too much about it afterwards.

Barbies & Baseball

19 June 2005

Burgeoning Baby Boomer Blog

Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers author and pundit Brent Green has finally gotten around to blogging.

The pic on the site is an apt metaphor, for Brent isn't afraid to take on all sorts of subjects - including Ward Churchill, Joe Queenan, Joe Klein, and silly (but damaging) editorials in various newspapers and magazines.

I wouldn't reduce Brent Green to simply a Baby Boomer apologist, for the Baby Boomer Generation, while getting blasted in the press over the last few years, really needs no apologists. From Brent's blog:
A few years ago, TIME magazine trumpeted "America's Best: Science & Medicine." Of 16 people profiled, only one is not a boomer. The finest neurosurgeon, the most respected biomedical engineer, academia's leading paleontologist … all boomers. Two ardent boomers led teams to decipher the 3.1 billion biochemical units of human DNA - perhaps the greatest scientific achievement of the 21st century - also heralded on the cover of TIME.
Mr. Green's trenchant book and blog, along with articles such as Carolyn Said's recent piece in the San Francisco Chronicle and Leonard Steinhorn's forthcoming book, "The Greater Generation In Defense of the Baby Boomer Legacy," have and will correct abominations in the media.

17 June 2005

Looking for a Few Good Boomer Marketers

Frederic Serriere and Antoine Girault head up the popular multi-language, international news conglomerate thematuremarket.com (under the umbrella corporation SeniorStrategic Network) This is the place to go for vital info on the worldwide 50+ market.

And they're ready to expand. You can be a part of it. Check out what it takes to become the editor-in-chief (and more) of your country's online edition.

Rubbing yourself and smiling.

I first saw The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty as a series of print ads (was it in the Oprah mag?) and loved it. No doubt about it — real beauties. The women exuded intelligence, confidence, sensuality. Great concept. (And if I may be a bit of a male pig: So many women, so little time…)

Then I saw the TV version. It doesn't work. The same women as in the print campaign (I'm pretty sure they were the same) stand there and … I'm not sure what … rub themselves and smile.

What were they told to do? Obviously, it was explained to them that they shouldn't be autoerotic about it. And there's a thin line between autoeroticism and sensuality - so I'm betting they were told not to be too sensual.

So what's left? Itching? They look like they're itching. Itching and smiling. Nervously itching and smiling.

Whatever it is, it's awkward and contrived. "Don't be sexual, don't be sensual - just rub yourself for no particular reason and look like you're enjoying it for no particular reason."

This is another one of those over-branded, over coordinated campaigns.

Of course, you couldn't have them smoothing lotion on their skins. How trite. How mundane. And the worst part -- no advertising awards.

Now I can't look at the print campaign without getting queasy. It reminds me of the silly commercial.

An A for the print campaign.

A++ for defining beauty for what it really is.

A++ for defining female beauty as something that gets better with age.

C- for getting sucked into empty branding techniques.


Does Reality Sell Beauty?

15 June 2005

Why does the future of Point-of-Purchase...

look like Stars Wars but sound like Ron Popeil?

Maybe to beckon us Baby Boomers. B2B with time-warp cognitive dissonance:

The Holodeem

As I walk down the aisle, I want to just reach out and grab the image in the ether -- and have a coupon magically appear in my hand.

Those Humdrum Empty Nesters

Stuck in their ways. Refuse to try new things, change brands. Why target them???

From The Mature Market web site:
On average, 54% of European and American Empty Nesters claim that in the past year they have tried new types of food and drinks. European and American Empty Nesters do however show different propensities to experiment, with 49% and 58% respectively claiming to have experimented with new foods over the past year.
There has never been a more experimental generation than Baby Boomers. Have something new and exciting in the marketplace? Don't let us know about it. You might improve your sales by 50%.

13 June 2005

Wrap Rage

In the last month, two clients have consulted me about packaging and Baby Boomers. It's a hot topic.

Here's a piece in the Washington Post - learn about "wrap rage" in England, and why the packaging industry is (or should be) considering Baby Boomers when designing:

But the Dang Thing Won't Open
Today's Packages Make Customers Twist and Shout
By Joyce Gemperlein, Special to The Washington Post

They’re Not Scouting for Nursing Homes

Magazines have always been a crap shoot. More like a lottery. Hundreds fail for each success.

Of course, if you target the 19-49 crowd — the competition is stiffest, the payoff less.

Talk about a magazine whose circulation will grow and grow.....read about this one.
"The first issue of Where to Retire in 1992 contained about 30 pages of advertising. Recent issues have about 100 pages of ads, many from developers of active-adult communities. A page costs up to $9,230."
Think there's room for a dozen other Baby Boomer niche magazines? Even one general interest magazine targeting Baby Boomers?

12 June 2005

Great to hear about Forth & Towne - but how about a classy, down-to-earth clothing chain for Baby Boomer men?

Two news stories hinting at this untapped market:
A good chunk of the population is getting old, but that doesn't mean they're a bunch of tightwad old geezers stowing their cash in their mattresses … In its just updated Demographic Profile of American Baby Boomers, MetLife said older boomers - those born between 1946 and 1955 - spend their money on home upgrades and clothing, spending 13 percent more than average on women's apparel and 11 percent more on men's clothing. — Bob Rozycki in the Westchester County Business Journal

Ultra-low-rise jeans feel too foreign to most baby boomers, even if they're hip and in good shape, like E Street owner Thomas George, who recently lost about 35 pounds. "I happen to play guitar, but I don't want to look like a rock star," said George, who mainly wears Lucky Brand jeans. "I was stupid at 22, and I'm not a whole lot smarter at 59, but I don't want to look like I'm 22." -- Wendy Donahue, Chicago Tribune

07 June 2005

Over 50 and Out of Favor: by Meg James, LA Times

Here's a good article from the Los Angeles Times dated May 10th, and reprinted on the AEF web site.

A few people quoted include Brad Adgate of Horizon Media, a top media planning (and more) firm. Mr. Adgate is a 'go-to' guy for lots of news outlets, including NPR. Do a google news search for "Brad Adgate" some time and more than likely you'll find a quote or quotes from him. From what he says about Baby Boomers, I'm guessing you'll get a sympathetic and knowledgable ear at Horizon Media if interested in targeting this demographic.

Brent Green penned Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers, and Matt Thornhill runs the marketing and research firm The Boomer Project.

The Advertising Education Foundation
, among many other things, is the best place to hunt down advertising articles from The New York Times and other periodicals - ones which may have vanished into the pricey ether. For example, here's an excellent NYT piece from December 2003.

06 June 2005

Hello future.

I saw a great spot a week or so ago for Lincoln Financial.

A few days later my Stuart Elliott email newsletter arrived and I read all about it. Mr. Elliott's headline: Saying Hello to Baby Boomers. The spot is part of a campaign titled "Hello future."

I'd love to post the complete article from the Elliott/NYT newsletter, but certainly would get in copyright trouble for that. So this is all you get:
The "Hello future" campaign, by Martin/Williams in Minneapolis, part of the Omnicom Group, is intended to create an image for Lincoln as the go-to company for the financial needs of the baby-boomer generation … In a third commercial, a girl is sitting in her guidance counselor's office in high school, circa the 1960's. "Roberta, I can see you as a file clerk," he tells her. "It's a great way to meet eligible lawyers." Fast-forward into the future, as she becomes a lawyer, then a judge, then retires. The scene shifts to a present-day student in her guidance counselor's office. "File clerk?" a voice asks. "Have you ever considered being a lawyer?" The camera cuts to the counselor - who is, of course, the retired judge.
That's the one I saw. A brilliant spot.

There's not much I can link to about this campaign. For example, the press release on the Martin/Williams web site is in flash, so you'll have to go there and fish around.

05 June 2005

The book is now available on Amazon.com

Read about it here.

Or go to Amazon.com and (if you're interested) buy it from Practical Books -- the retail division of the publishers. You can use your Amazon.com account for everything, and the book is shipped directly from Paramount Books. You'll probably get it faster — along with saving a few dollars ($5 discount vs. free shipping).

Or you can order it directly from the publisher, Paramount Books. Use this promotional code: CNY+ and save $5.00. You can also order five or ten copies at a discount. Email them about that.

The last two alternatives are the best bet if the book is sold out at Amazon.com.

04 June 2005

Gill Walker of Evergreen Marketing Communications in Australia is
part of a team that has put together a set of very impressive seminars for SouthernCross Broadcasting. Its purpose? To convince advertisers to target Baby Boomers (give or take a few years).

What knocks me out is that these seminars not only talk about obvious products/services (financial, travel) but feature - surprise, surprise - almost all consumer products and services including household cleaners, food, toiletries, etc.

Such audacity. Advising advertisers to sell everyday products to people over thirty-five. I'm fifty-four, and (according to the advertising and marketing industry) I haven't brushed my teeth, bought laundry soap, purchased a shirt, or taken a shower in almost twenty years. And as far as big ticket items - well, those rabbit ears work just fine on my 13-inch black & white T.V. They just need a nudge and a jiggle every now and then, that's all. And if a new needle is needed for my phonograph, I just get in my '73 Pinto and head over to the Goodwill and, when no one's looking, twist one off of a dusty old turntable and put it in my pocket...

Also check out Gill's excellent article, Why Advertisers Keep on Missing Our Target Market.

01 June 2005

Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit

Mary Furlong's Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit is June 21st, 2005. It's a follow-up to the What's Next Boomer Business Summit earlier this year in Philadelphia.

I was at the 1st What's Next Conference last year in San Francisco -- and spent lots of time chatting with Mary, Brent Green, David Wolfe, John Migliaccio, and Myrna Blyth.

And it was one of the reasons I decided to write a book about advertising to Baby Boomers.

If you are at all interested in Business 'n Boomers, the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit is where you should be.