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.

10 August 2005

Those Selfish, Money-Grubbing Baby Boomers

Andrea Coombes of MarketWatch has put together a trenchant article about Baby Boomers and their value systems. In this case, it has to do with inheritances:
Bequests of another kind
Money is low on the list of what boomers hope to inherit

Seventy-seven percent of boomers said understanding their parents' values is very important, 65% said enacting their parents' last wishes is key and 34% felt receiving their parents' sentimental treasures is very important, according to a telephone and online survey of about 1,200 boomers, conducted for Allianz, the insurance company, by Harris Interactive. For this study, boomers are those 40 to 59 years old.

But just 10% of boomers said it was very important their parents bequeath financial assets or real estate.
No surprise to me. Probably a big surprise to many media pundits who trash this generation.

And according to Carol Goar of The Toronto Star, Baby Boomers north of here are just as self-obsessed and money-grubbing:

Boomers look past bottom line.

08 August 2005

Marketplace: Marketing to Boomers

American Public Media's Marketplace had a feature last Friday morning worth listening to. If you do — how interesting that the last line is one of the major themes of my book. Good to hear that other folks are on the same wavelength. In this instance, it's a professor of television/advertising at Syracuse University.

04 August 2005

Boomers Beyond:Marketing to a 50-Plus Audience

This month's feature article in ADVANTAGES, one of the magazines offered by The Advertising Specialty Institute, is Jennifer Zorger's Boomers Beyond: Marketing to a 50-Plus Audience.

Oprah Winfrey ("Queen of the Boomer Demographic") is on the cover. Yours Truly is liberally quoted in the article.

Oprah & Chuck on the same pages.

Hey, I'm the selfless sort. If Oprah's name cozying up to mine will boost her career, I'm glad to help.

03 August 2005

Boomer Marketing Basics

Brent GreenBrent Green, marketing/advertising creative director, consultant, and author of Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers offers this crash course in Boomer Marketing Basics.

An excerpt:
Boomers resonate with marketing messages that help them process their lives. Although they still maintain youthful idealism and verve in many ways, they are now middle-aged adults with middle-aged value frameworks.
Brent calls it the 'cliff notes' version of his book. I think it's more like a script for one of those minute-long versions of famous plays. The characters and dialogue go whizzing by, it's frenetic and fun, but...

Absorb it, get your bearings - then tackle the unexpurgated folio. You'll be thoroughly engrossed and enlightened. (And if you have a consumer product or service, you might even learn how to make a lot more money.)

02 August 2005

Marketing to young people is fun!

Bill Virgin, a fellow I read regularly not simply because he's my local newpaper's top business writer — but because he's such a troublemaker — has this to say in today's Seattle P.I.:
Marketing to young people is fun! You get to talk about cool ideas and hot fads and pretend you can actually predict what the next trend will be!

Marketing to old people, by contrast, is boring -- too boring to bother with, except for three inconvenient facts: There are a lot of old people out there. The number of old people is growing. And they're the ones with the money.

No News News

If any of this surprises you.....

Culled from a report by Jupiter Research, Internet Retailer reports Baby Boomers spend more online than other age groups:
37% of online baby boomers who bought products or services on the web said they spent more than $250 in the prior three months. That compares with 32% of online users in all age groups, Jupiter said. 76% of baby boomers have made online purchases of products or services.
Imagine if a company decided to truly target Baby Boomers, if their site was truly boomer-friendly, if Baby Boomer creatives actually designed the site, wrote the copy... imagine how this product or service would break away from the pack...

01 August 2005

Boomers TV

This post is about advertising Baby Boomers, not advertising to Baby Boomers...

And I don't know anything about the project, but it's certainly worth a few clicks:
Boomers: Redefining Life After 50, a 13-part series of half-hour magazine style programs that examines the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Boomers as they contemplate their 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Hosted by Mark & Nancy Mills.
At The What's Next? Boomer Business Summit this year, Nancy and Mark interviewed and recorded my colleague Brent Green. Have a listen.

Mark and Nancy are hoping to sell the series to Public Television. Program funding is provided by Fidelity Investments and Del Webb Corp., a division of Pulte Homes, Inc.

Keep an eye out for it in January, 2006.