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.